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What do SaaS, PaaS and IaaS mean?

In the latest edition of our growing business guide for small and midsize businesses, we help to make sense of what SaaS, IaaS and PaaS mean in the world of cloud computing.

SaaS, IaaS and PaaS are acronyms that are thrown around frequently in IT circles. You’ve almost certainly heard of them and you probably know they’re often referred to as the “cloud computing stack”.

All of them empower small businesses with the technology and resources to compete with larger organisations.

Here’s an in depth look at each:

SaaS – Software as a Service

SaaS is a software distribution model in which apps (software) are hosted by a service provider and made available to you over the web. Typically, a SaaS provider opts to licence applications to you as an on demand offering or as a subscription service. Popular examples are things like: Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Office 365 and Dropbox.

SaaS has become very popular with businesses as it helps:

  • Make upgrading painless: As your software is managed by your service provider, they accept liability for the latest upgrades required to bring the software up to date. It also means you won’t need to employ experts with this knowledge, saving you money!
  • Boost collaboration: As SaaS is cloud-based, you’ll be able to access your work anywhere, anytime. Colleagues based remotely will find collaborating with other colleagues easier.

PaaS – Platform as a Service

Developing software can be a complex and costly process, so PaaS provides you with a cost-effective platform to help. PaaS services typically comprise of everything you’d need to develop software (including the hardware and software) as a service. PaaS also includes things like data management systems, web servers, programming libraries (Java, ASP.NET) etc.

Like SaaS, PaaS is becoming increasingly popular with businesses:

  • Reduced development costs: As you’ll be utilising infrastructure that’s purpose built for developing apps, you won’t have to go out and buy the expensive hardware and software yourself.
  • Centralise your development: Developing software can be a messy process, with workflows and development environments split across multiple systems. A PaaS solution centralises this. And as it’s cloud-based, it’ll be much easier for you to collaborate with colleagues in different locations.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

The final part of the cloud computing stack is IaaS. It’s associated with the actual infrastructure of your IT system. You know your servers, storage and your website?  Yep, you can actually get all of this outsourced now! Like PaaS all of this can be upscaled or downscaled depending on the demands of your business. You’ll only pay for what you use.

IaaS has become one of the biggest sectors in the cloud computing stack, and for good reason:

  • Saves money: This is starting to become a cliché. But IaaS really saves your business money! You’ll be able to implement infrastructure and only pay for what you use. And, you won’t need to hire people that have technical knowledge as your IaaS provider will do all of the technical work for you.
  • Grows when your business grows: Using cutting edge scripts, an IaaS platform will identify surges and trends within your organisation and instantly provision extra resource when required. It’ll then de-provision when it isn’t needed.

Microsoft Azure has been identified as a leader in Application Platform as a Service (APaaS) by Gartner in their latest report. If you’re interested in learning more on how Microsoft Azure or cloud computing can help grow your business, call our Managed Services team on +44 (0)203 004 4600, Request A Quote or Contact us via our online form.