When it comes to cloud computing there can be a lot of jargon and acronyms floating around. There’s a group of three that you will hear together a lot: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS if you want to save time. The three terms identify the different models of cloud services that you can implement.

Infrastructure as a Service

In basic terms is where you access your hardware resources through an Internet connection. For example, if you’re using Microsoft Azure’s IaaS model you would be able to rent your server from Microsoft in their datacentre via an Internet connection. The benefit of this is that you no longer have capital expenditure every few years to replace your server as you are paying for it per month.

Platform as a Service

Is all about deployment. Instead of investing in the infrastructure needed to develop and manage an application you can use PaaS. Platform as a Service is all about developing and deploying applications and being able to do so without worrying about operating systems, servers and other network infrastructure. PaaS is scalable so that as things develop it will grow with you rather than having to invest in more.

Software as a Service

Is what many of us are most familiar with. Services such as Salesforce and Office 365 are all SaaS products. You are accessing software via an Internet connection. For example, with something like Office 365 you used to have to access your email through a server in Microsoft’s datacentre via an Internet connection, rather than having the hardware on-site.
cloud as a service explained

Alternative explanation of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

There was an analogy of how these models work a few years ago called ‘Pizza as a Service’ we have tried to refresh this using Meal Preparation…meal preparation image explanation

Traditional On-Premises

If you want to prepare a meal, there is a traditional way to go about it. You wake up, plan, go to the Supermarket, pick up your ingredients, come home and cook it. You are doing everything yourself. It’s all down to you and your time. No one to assist or interfere, it’s all your efforts. Nothing wrong there.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

If you move into an Infrastructure as a Service model it’s similar. However you don’t have that painful interaction with shoppers in the supermarket as you are using Tesco Delivery. A few clicks and a few hours later, all your ingredients are there at your door. It’s still your cooker, your time, but someone has provided some of the process for you, i.e. the food itself. In the IT world that’s the hardware and servers but you still need an operating system, software and devices etc so it’s still mainly down to you.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

With Platform as a Service the help expands, like the Recipe Box parcel. This time all the elements are there, no supermarket visit, no selection of specific ingredients, no messy chopping up or preparation. Just cooking the food. With PaaS, you don’t have to worry about or manage the infrastructure (getting the food) or the operating system (ingredient preparation). The only thing you need to think about is the software.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service is the final model of the three types of Cloud Services. This is like getting a take away delivered from Deliveroo – all meal preparation processes complete! Everything is taken care of for you, you don’t need to get the food, prepare the ingredients and now not even to cook the meal. Just pay the delivery person and with SaaS it’s the same, their infrastructure, operating system and software – fully managed.

If you’d like to understand more about cloud technology and services please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.


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