The Future of Cloud Services: A Comparison of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS

Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are the three essential models of cloud services. Each has its own benefits, and it’s good to understand why providers offer these different models and what implications they have for the market.

While SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are different, they are not competitive. In fact, most software-focused companies use some form of all three. So, let’s consider these main categories, and because I like to understand things by company name, I’ll include a few of the more common SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS providers in market today.

cloud services

SaaS: Software as a Service

Software as a Service, also known as cloud application services, represents the most commonly utilized option for businesses in the cloud market. SaaS utilizes the internet to deliver applications, which are managed by a third-party vendor, to its users.

Many SaaS applications are run directly through the web browser, and do not require any downloads or installations on the client side.

Prominent providers: Salesforce, ServiceNow, Google Apps, Dropbox and Slack (and ParkMyCloud, of course).

PaaS: Platform as a Service

Cloud platform services, or Platform as a Service (PaaS), provide cloud components to certain software while being used mainly for applications. PaaS delivers a framework for developers that they can build upon and use to create customized applications.

All servers, storage, and networking can be managed by the enterprise or a third-party provider while the developers can maintain management of the applications.

Prominent providers and offerings: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, RedHat Openshift, IBM Bluemix, Windows Azure, and VMware Pivotal CF.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are made of highly scalable and automated compute resources.

IaaS is fully self-service for accessing and monitoring things like compute, storage, networking, and other infrastructure related services, and it allows businesses to purchase resources on-demand and as-needed instead of having to buy hardware outright.

Prominent Providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure (Azure), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and IBM Cloud.

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