What is IaaS vs PaaS Cloud Computing?

Understanding the basic differences and benefits of IaaS vs PaaS cloud computing options is the first step toward deciding which options are right for any organization. This page serves as a basic introductory guide to these concepts and explores the differences between the two, options available within them, and provides real-life examples, for easy comparison.

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Definitions of IaaS vs PaaS Cloud Computing Options

Cloud Computing Definition: Any vendor-hosted application or data storage solution is generally considered a cloud-based service. In everyday life, people often host their personal photos and documents on a cloud, such as Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud, or Microsoft One Drive. Enterprise cloud-based services have surged in popularity as well, with each option providing a unique set of benefits for the user.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) Definition: When infrastructure is provided as a service, it means the hardware is offered like a utility. Users receive access to a blank slate that almost anything can be done with and may be charged for the total amount of data being stored or similar measurement.


Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Definition: When a platform is provided as a service, users generally (but not always) have the infrastructure provided as well. In addition to this, users also gain access to an environment designed for swift development of applications. Users may be able to use the platform’s base and add code on top of it or select from pre-written codes to help their project move along faster.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Definition: It’s also worth noting that there is a third type of cloud computing in which the software is the service. In these cases, the application is managed and hosted fully by the vendor. The user can log in and begin using the software without having to code or set up the infrastructure.

The Stack Definition: The three primary forms of cloud computing services (infrastructure, platform, and software) are often referred to as “the stack” because the services generally build one on top of the other.

Public Cloud Definition: Most of the time, these services are provided by one company that holds data from multiple consumers in the same location. Although the user may not be able to access the other data, it’s still using the same resources. Oftentimes, vendors use this as a marketing angle to demonstrate how large and powerful their resources are.

Private Cloud Definition: Because using a public cloud often puts users at the mercy of the vendor in terms of who is managing the security of data, some organizations make use of private or self-managed clouds. This way, internal IT professionals can ensure that regulatory guidelines are met and that all data remains secure within the organization. It’s worth noting that organizations can also have a hybrid of the two. Applications can use multiple clouds, so sensitive data can be stored on a private cloud and other data can be kept on a public cloud. This kind of setup makes it easier for IT departments to manage resources more efficiently.

IaaS vs PaaS Difference

While both infrastructure and platform-as-a-service models require IT professionals, such as developers to help manage, and infrastructure is almost always included with platform service models, there are still marked differences between the two. For example, sometimes the platform is open-source or unmanaged, in which case the developers must set up the infrastructure on their own; it’s not included.

With infrastructure-as-a-service, the vendor manages all aspects of networking, storage, servers, and virtualization.

With platform-as-a-service, the vendor manages all aspects of networking, storage, servers, virtualization, the operating systems, middleware, and runtime.

IaaS vs PaaS Examples

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Examples

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Joyent
  • Google Compute Engine (GCE)
  • Cisco Metapod
  • Amazon Web Services

Platform-as-a-Service Examples

  • Microsoft Azure Services
  • Heroku
  • com
  • Apache Stratos
  • Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk

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