The cloud is one of the most important elements for today's companies, from small to global companies. But in practice, it continues to be a broad concept that encompasses many possibilities. As you start to consider moving your company to the cloud, whether for the implementation of applications or infrastructure, it is essential to understand the differences and advantages of the different services.

While the types of services are growing day by day, there are generally three cloud models that you should consider as the most sought after:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

These acronyms are everywhere and, at times, are used indiscriminately and even erroneously. Our objective here will be to clarify a little bit about what they are and how they can be used to help you bring your computing strategy to the cloud .

For each one of them, we will examine the concept, the benefits and its applications. We will also help you understand the main differences between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS so that you can choose the right option for your organization.

Definitions of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

Now we will know the definition of one of these solutions: 

SaaS: Software as a Service

The software as a service, also known as cloud application services, represents the most common option used by companies in the cloud market. SaaS uses the Internet to deliver applications, which are managed by an external provider, to its users.

The majority of SaaS applications are executed directly through your web browser , which means that no download or installation is required on the client side.

SaaS offers numerous advantages for professionals and companies, significantly reducing time and money spent on installation tasks, management and software updates. This frees up a lot of time for the technical team to dedicate to more urgent matters and matters within the organization.

PaaS: Platform as a Service

Cloud platform services, also known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), provide cloud components for certain software.

In practice, this service provides a framework for developers who can create and use it to create custom applications . All the servers, the storage and the network can be managed by the company or by an external provider, while developers can maintain a complete administration of the applications.

Regardless of the size of your company, the use of PaaS offers a series of advantages, which include:

  • Development and implementation of simple and economical applications;
  • It is highly available and scalable;
  • Significant reduction in the amount of coding required.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

Cloud infrastructure services, known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), are automated and highly scalable computing resources, like a virtual machine. IaaS is completely self-service for accessing and monitoring computers, networks, storage and other services.

IaaS allows companies to buy resources on demand as needed, rather than having to buy hardware right away.

IaaS offers many benefits, which include:

  • The most flexible cloud computing model;
  • Easy to automate the implementation of storage, network, servers and processing capacity;
  • Customers maintain total control of their infrastructure;
  • Highly scalable. 

How and when to use IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions?

We will understand when the solutions can and should be used, depending on the problems that exist in the organizations.

How to use IaaS

If you are in charge of a corporate data center, you know that to activate and maintain any application it is necessary to consider absolutely all aspects related to the hardware and software of the system.

The first block of concerns includes basic questions such as physical space, energy and refrigeration, in addition to setting up the entire internet access infrastructure, local area network, load balancers and secure remote access. Completing this block you must think about your servers and storage devices that your application requires.

When we walk around the cloud, this first block of elements is offered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In other words, when hiring an instance or virtual machine like IaaS, you take a server with storage that is connected to a network and you don't have to worry about anyone's physical aspect of that hardware.

It depends on you accessing these machines and installing all the necessary software. The main IaaS providers include Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

How to use PaaS

We know that for the application to work correctly there is still a concern for important issues such as the Operating System, its updates, adjustments and protections. We also need some kind of interface like HTTP servers or session virtualizers. Finally, we need to install and maintain a database on the available storage device.

When this second block of elements forms part of the offer on the cloud, we are using Platform as a Service (PaaS) . Menu PaaS offerings are linked to specific development milestones.

This is important because problems with the operating system, the database and the front-end are adjusted to work well in a given environment. That way you can hire PaaS to run your .NET, Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails or Django application, among others.

In general, the PaaS provider offers some environment options for each type of framework and will have to adapt to these restrictions. In this way, you are responsible for developing the application code and only have to follow some procedures to export this code to the PaaS infrastructure.

The maintenance of the production environment is the responsibility of the PaaS provider who maintains the entire system completely automated. In addition to Google and Microsoft, there are other providers available and scaling an application is very simple.

How to use SaaS

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a complete proposal where only the software that has been developed by the provider is used. In this case, your only concern is the customization of the software to guarantee its efficiency and good use.

The great majority of SaaS offers are based on web applications that all users access through a browser. The most common examples include Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, where you can buy email services and office applications in the cloud, SalesForce and Pipedrive that offer sophisticated CRM solutions.

Solutions to different problems

As you can see, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS have different purposes and therefore are complementary solutions . If you have a specific application with many peculiarities, it is likely that only IaaS can serve you on the cloud.

If you have an application developed in the most popular frameworks on the market, it is likely that PaaS is the fastest and easiest way to migrate to the cloud, taking advantage of all the automation offered by this model.

Finally, if your needs fall into solutions ready to use, SaaS offers the fastest alternative to using the cloud.

orchestration and automation

For IaaS and PaaS models, it is essential to analyze the orchestration and automation tools that are available on the provider and how you can interact with them to ensure that the scalability of the solution is as fluid and automatic as possible.

In addition, this tool facilitates all tasks related to the high availability of your system and the setting up of disaster recovery . The offers vary between different providers and, in general, the most complete and flexible solutions allow your application to be ported more easily to the cloud, enjoying the benefits of this environment in a more efficient way.

If you want to take this important step and trust IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions, communicate with our team and consult the options that Sky.One can offer and support your organization.

Written by

Sky.One Team

This content was produced by SkyOne's team of cloud and digital transformation experts.