SaaS, PaaS and IaaS

Image: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS

The world of technology is often full of acronyms and can sometimes be slightly confusing. Technology stopped being solely about hardware a long time ago and software is making just as many waves in the industry, with advances like virtual reality and self-driving cars receiving a lot of attention.

Cloud computing is just one method of software, helping businesses to grow daily. We have created a simple explanation of the different cloud services available, to help anyone from the CIO to the work experience understand how these can help a business.

Most people are either aware of Software as a Service (SaaS) or at least will be using SaaS in their day-to-day life. SaaS allows companies to acquire critical software for the business without paying that hefty upfront cost.

By hosting the software on the cloud with access via the internet, software applications no longer need to be owned and managed on expensive servers that need to be maintained by the companies who would like access to them.

The software is delivered over the internet directly to the users – and the company simply pays some sort of payment plan for access (most common payment plans are an annual, quarterly or monthly cost).

The services for this are endless, from CRM and accounting to managing the office telecoms.

Whereas with SaaS the host can control everything from the application to the servers and storage, with Platform as a Service (PaaS) the application and data is managed by you.

This means it is software that can be bespoke to your company needs and can be built to exactly how you need it. PaaS can be defined as a computing platform that allows the creation of web applications quickly and easily, without the complexity of buying and maintaining the software and infrastructure underneath it.

PaaS is comparable to SaaS except that, rather than being software delivered over the web, it is a platform for the creation of software, delivered over the web.

This is especially useful in any situation where multiple developers will be working on a development project or where other external parties need to interact with the development process.


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a way of delivering cloud computing infrastructure – servers, storage, network and operating systems – as an on-demand service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, datacentre space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service on demand.

Generally, IaaS can be obtained as a public or private infrastructure or a combination of the two. ‘Public cloud’ is considered infrastructure that consists of shared resources, deployed on a self-service basis over the internet.

By contrast, ‘private cloud’ is infrastructure that emulates some of Cloud Computing features, like virtualisation, but does so on a private network. Additionally, some hosting providers are beginning to offer a combination of traditional dedicated hosting alongside public and/or private cloud networks. This combination approach is generally called ‘Hybrid Cloud’.

The best situation for IaaS is when demand on the infrastructure is very volatile or when a new company is growing rapidly and scaling hardware would be problematic.

Do you use any of these services in your business? Tweet us which works best for you @Altodigital

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