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Cloud computing has become much more than a buzzword for most businesses. The public cloud market alone is expected to expand to $331 billion dollars by 2022.

Increasing demand has led to several different service models for the cloud. Today, you can choose from three main types of cloud computing.

This development now has IT leaders weighing the pros and cons of SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS. If that seems like a bit of alphabet soup, don’t worry. We’re here to help you understand each type of cloud computing, the differences between them, and their benefits.

What Is SaaS?

SaaS is probably the oldest model of cloud computing, so you may have encountered the term before. Even so, you may be asking, “What does SaaS stand for?”

SaaS is the software-as-a-service model of cloud computing. Within this model, you’ll buy a subscription to an app, then access it through the cloud.

Many companies have switched to the SaaS model, including Adobe and Microsoft. The SaaS model eliminates issues like buying and downloading individual copies of programs or needing to find a disk to reinstall them.

In fact, SaaS can cut the need to download and install programs on individual devices at all. Your team simply logs in via a web browser or an app, and they can access everything they need.

SaaS is highly scalable and easy to use, which accounts for its popularity. Often, it can combine the functions of several different applications. This makes it easy to create integrated platforms, such as a school management system.

What Is PaaS?

PaaS stands for platform-as-a-service. It’s less common than SaaS, partially because it’s aimed at developers right now.

PaaS provides a platform, often for the development of cloud-based apps. A good example is Google’s App Engine. It lets developers create and host their web applications in Google-managed data centers.

This option is great for a company that wants custom apps but doesn’t want the hassle of maintaining storage. Instead, the platform host takes care of the back-end logistics to keep your apps up and running. If you’re not familiar with servers or data storage management, PaaS might be the right option.

What Is IaaS?

Now we’ve come to the final acronym. IaaS focuses on infrastructure, hence the name. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are two of the most prominent examples.

Unlike a PaaS solution, IaaS looks directly at the back-end logistics. It allows the client almost total control over servers, data storage, and management. The difference is that you don’t need to use your own space to house your servers or data centers.

Instead, you’ll use the cloud to access infrastructure provided by a company like Amazon or Microsoft.

IaaS provides more control over infrastructure than PaaS or SaaS. It’s ideal for startups since you can buy resources like servers and other hardware on an as-needed basis. That feature also makes IaaS highly scalable, meaning it grows as you do.

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS

Now you know a little bit about each of these models of cloud computing service delivery. You’re likely asking, “Which one is best?”

The difference between IaaS and PaaS can be difficult to grasp. Both are scalable and provide you with more control over the apps you use and how you deliver them.

PaaS doesn’t provide the same control that IaaS does, which means you’re still at the mercy of someone else’s infrastructure. If Google’s App Developer servers go down, you won’t be able to access your projects or deliver your app.

By contrast, IaaS gives you control over the servers you’re using. You can expand your use or scale it back. You can even switch hardware to provide increased uptime or server speed.

IaaS requires some familiarity with the back-end of servers, storage, and management. PaaS leaves those decisions to someone else while providing flexibility to create custom apps.

SaaS isn’t nearly as customizable as PaaS. SaaS is still scalable, but often less so than PaaS or IaaS.

Look to Your Needs

When you’re looking at IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS and trying to decide which one is right, the best thing you can do is look to your own needs.

If you’re a small business owner who needs specific software, then SaaS might be the right choice.

If you’re delivering a new app to your client base, then SaaS isn’t going to cut it. In this scenario, PaaS might be a better fit. You may even want to use PaaS for internal applications.

PaaS is a great choice if you need to control storage and data management, but your in-house team is strained. It can also be a cost-saving tool. PaaS allows for easy collaboration and eliminates the need for you to invest in hardware.

IaaS also allows you to save on hardware since you buy resources as you need them. You can also save on the costs of housing your servers and storage.

IaaS gives you the most control and improves accessibility. It can be a great option for small, but growing businesses. Large businesses also like IaaS for its flexibility and scalability.

What Are the Cons?

Cloud computing comes with a few downsides, and each model has its own weaknesses.

All three models present security concerns since someone else is handling your data. Internal resources may also present a challenge to adopting cloud computing. Your people need to know how to use the cloud the right way, whether you adopt IaaS or SaaS solutions.

Find Your Computing Cloud Nine Now

With this guide in hand, you should be closer to answering the question of SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS for your business.

If you’re looking for more great insights on the cloud and other tech topics, you’re in the right spot. Check out some of our other articles to improve your tech solutions and your lifestyle.