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What You Need to Know About IaaS, PaaS and SaaS Providers

Nowadays the cloud topic is hotter and hotter in the tech industry. As not every company has the scale of efficiency to build and maintain an onsite server park, the providers come into play. They have platforms that offer services for a fee - for example they can be used to build an application or a company website. There are three main kinds of cloud solutions called IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and it is crucial for every company to understand which one of these might fit best with which of their activities and needs. If you’re interested in discovering the best solution for you, keep on reading: we will provide you with all the necessary information!


The meaning of IaaS is Infrastructure as a Service and what they do is provide virtualized computing resources over the internet by hosting the infrastructure components that are typically contained in a physical data center, including servers, storage, network and networking services like firewalls, as well as the virtualization layer. IaaS providers let you access, monitor and manage the data center infrastructure remotely. You therefore get the same services as when you have a physical data center, without having to own or build one. It will be the IaaS provider to manage the infrastructure for the customer, for example by replacing faulty hardware. Their services can also include monitoring, security, load balancing. These features help you to automate and orchestrate their work in an easier way, especially since the customers are being provided with the least amount of service when compared to PaaS or SaaS. IaaS is especially convenient because of the flexibility it offers: that is when you need to extend your current server infrastructure flexibly, e.g. due to peaks in their workloads that could, perhaps, be seasonal. The absence of a need to create or expand a data center drastically reduces capital expenditures, thus making IaaS quite an interesting option compared to owning a data center. Also, the model is pay-per-use. Typically the user gets to pay per server on an hourly or monthly basis. IaaS providers can serve individual developers as much as companies - even the big ones, because of the resource management split. In fact, the providers just manage the virtualization, servers, hard drives, storage and networking. Meanwhile, the users have to manage applications, runtime, data, operating systems and middleware, which is software acting like a bridge in between the OS or database and applications. Practical example. You want to create your own application, completely customized. You are an expert coder and utilize sometimes underground, atypical operating systems. You get to personalize everything and pay per use. IaaS is definitely your ideal option. Our VMs are an IaaS product.

PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. PaaS offerings are usually utilized to develop applications or else, while providing not just infrastructure to the developers, but also virtualization, operating systems, runtime, middleware, etc. This means the customers do not have to manage servers any longer, just the applications and data side, which cuts down operational work drastically. The users are given access to a dashboard to control their applications. Since these providers provide middleware, the developers recurring to PaaS have a framework they can use to build their work upon, which usually constitutes of the development, customizing and testing of applications. After that, they need to take care of the applications’ deployment as well. PaaS solutions mean that the developer needs to code less and can therefore increase his/her productivity while reducing time to market and utilization rates. It simplifies the deployment of the workload but at the same time PaaS takes some flexibility away from the business when it comes to create the exact environment they’re thinking of. As PaaS providers are closer to the end customer they cost more than IaaS or sometimes need you to provide infrastructure to run the PaaS solution on. The providers give the developers the task of managing the dashboard, while they generally take it upon themselves to manage the OSs, virtualization, servers, storage, networking and the PaaS middleware software itself. Practical example. You want to create an application but your deadlines are tight or you have a small company with little operations staff, you want to personalize the application but need an easy-to-deploy system, with OSs installed and interesting ancillary functions that will help you code less and cut your time to market. In this case, PaaS is your ideal provider category. Nerdalize can help you with Kubernetes as a PaaS solution.

SaaS means Software as a Service. Their customers get access to the interface of the applications that SaaS deliver through the web. Most SaaS applications do not need to be installed or downloaded on computers locally, but they can be directly utilized online. Since with Software as a Service the provider is managing almost everything, it is used by companies to replace traditional software that runs on-premise. The provider is responsible for the creation of the application, for ensuring high runtime, data, middleware, operating systems, virtualization, servers, networking and storage and updates of the application are automatically installed for you. The downside of SaaS is the limited customization possible on the customer’s end. It’s only suitable if the specific application you want is available as a SaaS solution. Clearly, the easier for the end-user, the higher the price of the service provided, due to software development costs - that makes SaaS the most costly service, generally speaking. Practical example. You are working for a small company and you want to deploy to market a very simple application, like a blog. You therefore need to create a simple website managed for you and with a nice online editor to make your life easier. You’re ready to invest some money in this to avoid creating an IT department, which would end up being more expensive, and willing to cut times for the customization of your platform, that is uninteresting to you. In this case SaaS is your perfect kind of solution.

Hopefully these functional descriptions of the 3 provider categories have given you clarity when it comes to showing their decreased complexity in offering, their pros and cons and targets.

About our cloud
Elena Galli
posted this December 18, 2018