Knowing Key Differentiators between IaaS and PaaS to Facilitate Right Choice

Growing number of business owners are shifting their business activities to cloud. Undoubtedly, the decision of adopting cloud for business is an important step that requires a fair amount of planning and analysis.

Having made such a profound decision you need to proceed to choose between Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Information as a Service (IaaS). These two commonly used cloud service options share multiple similarities and have few differentiating factors that distinguish them from each other.

Understanding characteristics of IaaS

Businesses can acquire hardware capabilities including network core, operating systems, servers, and storage on a metered basis in the form of service by opting for Infrastructure as a Service. This model of service is delivered on the lines of utility and users are required to pay for the amount of services that are consumed for a specific period. IaaS service providers offer their services in response to the demand from clients. As far as the operating system is concerned the client is required to ensure configuration of the same in addition to configuring database and software.

Hardware outsourcing is a vital aspect of integrating the entire business with cloud and IaaS acts as a core package of cloud computing. The most compelling attribute of Infrastructure as a Service is on demand scalability since users can consume only the required amount of resources by avoiding over provisioning. Secondly users are also able to save on costs of purchasing costly physical equipment and associated efforts and expenses on maintenance of the same.

IaaS normally caters to several users on a single piece of hardware and offers hardware resources as a service. Cost of IaaS implementation varies as per the type of infrastructure and users are free to use dynamic scaling capabilities. IaaS also provides exceptional flexibility to facilitate robust control over organizational infrastructure.

IaaS is highly suitable for enterprises that need to exercise control on their high performance software applications. It is also perfect for small enterprises as well as startups that have limitations of time money and efforts, for procurement and maintenance of software and hardware resources.

IaaS offers guaranteed support to applications with fluctuation of demands because its highly regarded for seamless scalability and can scale up or down in response to application needs.

Growing companies are usually in a dilemma regarding use of applications and are not in a position to commit resources of software and hardware. IaaS can be an ideal approach for acquiring high end capabilities without investing in costly resources.

Vital features of PaaS (Platform as a Service)

The only difference between PaaS and IaaS is that PaaS delivers platform over Web for development of software. Since the platform is being delivered by service provider, developers are able to focus their attention on workloads that are related to application development without getting bogged down with security patching, frequent updates, storage, and load balancing among others. PaaS is a highly sought after cloud computing model since it allows number of developers to work simultaneously on a single source code.

Developers are free to use PaaS for testing, deploying, and hosting multiple applications through online services. Similar to IaaS, PaaS also facilitates reduction of capital expenditure so that application development teams can focus on strategies rather than maintenance of hardware. Users can access tools for management of billing and subscription of PaaS services. Since PaaS has been built on top of virtualization the resource requirement can be dynamically fulfilled with remarkable scalability.

Application development in PaaS environment can be achieved in faster manner with number of developers collaborating to work on the same workload. PaaS has an excellent ability to guarantee higher speed and flexibility of the process of application development.

Dealing with complexities

Although we have been discussing IaaS and PaaS separately, these cloud models share amazing similarities with each other. In fact the similarities have enhanced over the period of time because of the fact that several integration tools are being embedded in IaaS offerings allowing deployment of multiple clouds in a single environment.

It has therefore resulted in idea of creation of a cloud that has ability to act as a PaaS offering. Such a cloud offering can help users maintain their requirements of network, storage, and compute power in a different cloud while testing, developing, deploying and hosting applications in this cloud.

The theoretical possibility of such an environment implies possibility of merging IaaS and PaaS into one another. In fact it would be time consuming proposal to use an approach of IaaS for development of PaaS in comparison with accessing a pre-existing offering of PaaS.

IaaS use cases

Although IaaS is regarded for number of benefits, it is not very easy to migrate from one model of IaaS into another. If you organization is in need of resources that would need to rapidly scale up resources on regular basis, then IaaS is the right option for you. It will also enable scaling down in the event of reduced resource needs.

IaaS helps save on capital investments and thus it can certainly be beneficial to new and developing enterprises. In fact, any enterprise that is looking for ways to scale up resources within an instant can exploit IaaS to its advantage. These organizations need not devote additional efforts and expenses for maintenance of hardware infrastructure thus facilitating strategy development.

IaaS helps organizations with optimum availability of resources without impacting performance due to highly responsive scalability.

Applications of PaaS

In any development scenario, that requires multiple developers to contribute from different locations, PaaS can be the right fit. PaaS facilitates concurrent use of a single source code with an additional ability for testing as well as deployment.

There is one distinct difference between IaaS and PaaS. In contrast with IaaS offerings, PaaS suffers from vendor lock-in issue. It is governed by use of a single proprietary language that can act as an impediment in the event of need to migrate to another PaaS provider.This highlights the needs to carefully select a PaaS provider prior to application development.


IaaS providers have been engaged in developing tools to facilitate multiple cloud deployment. One needs to devote time for studying PaaS as well as IaaS in terms of their suitability and benefits for specific applications.

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