SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are regarded as classic categories of cloud computing. In this blog, we give you a general summary of what each platform means.

SaaS – Software as a Service.

The best known category of Cloud; SaaS applications are accessed over the internet on a subscription basis. The best known apps include Salesforce, Google Apps, Office 365 and the storage-based solution, Dropbox.

SaaS apps are accessed using a login and password. And with 4G internet access prevalent in most metropolitan areas, accessing them is very easy. Although we are familiar with SaaS cloud now, it was a substantial cultural change to move from working with data on a local desktop to working with data in a cloud environment.

PaaS – Platform as a Service.

PaaS operates at a level below SaaS and above IaaS. PaaS environments offer cloud space where configurable hardware, a selected Operating System, server software and networking infrastructure are offered to clients on a subscription basis. Platform cloud is most commonly, if not almost always, used by application developers. It can be easily and quickly scaled up or down. PaaS typically works within a virtualized server environment which means client organisations can create and run several PaaS environments at the same time. A popular use of PaaS is to develop web applications.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service.

IaaS is the base layer of these three categories. IaaS cloud environments are generally used to access hardware configurations on a subscription basis. Years ago, IaaS users provided their own Operating Systems and software. Elements of this are now offered by some cloud providers.

IaaS tends to use a pool of servers in one or often more datacenters. It is often used by enterprise organisations to build private cloud-style environments to host their applications. IaaS is often used to host websites.

These three categories are still a classic way to define cloud services but the lines between IaaS and PaaS are increasingly blurring. However, the evolution of cloud, like the general evolution of IT means not focusing on definitions of how cloud works but the benefits of what cloud does.

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