IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS
The acronym “IaaS” stands for “Infrastructure as a Service”. Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are also common models for tech companies. Each business model provides a business function as a service, rather than as a one-time purchase or dedicated in-house hire/team.
IaaS, SaaS and PaaS are the three primary forms of cloud-based computing. Each offers a different level of freedom and subsequently end-product completion, for the consumer. However, all of them allow for scalability, permitting consumers to purchase as much of the service as required for their needs.
IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service. This option provides cloud-based infrastructure resources for organizations and, with IaaS, the end user essentially purchases server or storage space to save them the difficulty of hosting servers on-site. While this option still provides third-party management of hardware, the installation and configuration of software and IT solutions is left to the consumer.
SaaS is a model of software provision that entails essentially no configuration or maintenance work on the part of the consumer. Software as a Service provides a complete end-product for the benefit and convenience of its users. For instance, while a user can purchase a Skype plan that meets their usage needs, and can customize some features, they cannot make significant changes to the configuration of the application.
PaaS stands for Platform as a Service and refers to cloud-based platform services that provide a framework that can be used to build custom applications and solutions. One example of PaaS are application engines, that allow developers to build apps online within specified frameworks. For those with experience creating applications, this model can provide much greater freedom to achieve specific outcomes. However, there are still some parameters built into the platform which constrain what applications can be built.