IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS: Common Examples of Each

Today, the IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS debate is more relevant than ever in modern technology companies. 

With good reason. After all, these services do make up a sector of cloud technology that has gained increased interest among small to global enterprises alike. 

The stats don’t lie. 

In a 2019 news report, Gartner Inc stated that a business that doesn’t leverage the power of cloud technology in their operations is unheard of. 

What’s more, in the same report, Gartner claimed that there was a near 20% growth in cloud services marketing between 2018 to 2019, with exponential growth forecast for the future.

Due to the quick pace at which these software have taken the world, business leaders are challenged to keep up.

This blog post sheds light on what differentiates each of these cloud software services from the other as well as a few examples of each one. 

Learn how you can propel your business’s growth with one of these software services. 

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: What They Are

IaaS, Paas, and SaaS are acronyms for three of the main branches of cloud computing. 

They stand for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). 

Cloud computing is the ability to access and use computer system resources by way of remote servers as opposed to local ones or personal computers. 

These resources include data storage and recovery, software, analytics, databases, and networks. 

Unlike traditional computing, cloud computing facilitates access to services through the internet. 

Although all three fall under the broad umbrella term of cloud computing, there are differences between them. 

IaaS refers to the sector that enables the fundamental functioning of storage, network, and computational resources via the internet. 

On the other hand, PaaS is a deployment service model that delivers software and hardware tools needed to run and develop applications. 

Likewise, Software as a Service is different in that it speaks to the accessing of software via the internet. 

Having presented the basics of these three types of cloud computing, let’s examine what each one does in greater detail as well as their features. 

Understanding IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

Each of the cloud computing services listed above operate in their own way with features that are unique to them. 

Image retrieved from BMC.com

IaaS: How It Works 

Infrastructure as a service enables one to construct and control their own servers, data storage facilities, networks, and operating systems. 

This way, an IaaS user bypasses the need to contract physical data centers to run their computers. Instead, a cloud server acts as a host through which a client can access their service either through a dashboard or an application programming interface (API). 

In addition to the fundamental components needed to run a computer, an IaaS provider also includes a host of complimentary services that enhance the package. 

Although these will vary based on the provider, some of the more standard ones are: 

  • Storage resiliency (recovery modes, backups, and data replication)
  • Log access
  • Monthly billing reports
  • Load balancing and clustering
  • Monitoring
  • Automation and orchestration

IaaS enables companies to grow and scale their data without the need to house data storing equipment in a physical space. 

Examples of IaaS Companies

Let’s take a look at some of the most innovative companies that offer IaaS:

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is an IaaS product and cloud computing platform that makes it possible for customers to create, manage, and test applications via a cloud host.

 Microsoft is the company that oversees this cloud service and its development. 

Consequently, this IaaS product relies on global networks and data centers owned and run by Microsoft. 

Therefore, it goes without saying that the service is attractive because of its compatibility with Microsoft devices. 

However, the service has been criticized by some for having an average performance that doesn’t match the high cost of the service. 

Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is another IaaS company that offers cloud hosting services to businesses looking to scale their data in the clouds. 

Brothers Ben and Moisey Uretsky are the founders of Digital Ocean. At the time of writing this, the company had been in existence for nearly nine (9) years. 

The brothers have led their team of marketers and developers to establish the company as one of the leading IaaS service providers today. 

In doing so, they have established partnerships with major brands such as Slack, Gitlab, and Hashicorp.

As their technologies continue to develop, Digital Ocean hopes to expand and improve their efforts in cloud services to better serve their clientele. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services is an Amazon cloud computing service that offers a variety of products that propel data management strategies. 

The company offers over 175 digital products across categories such as blockchain, application integration, quantum technologies, and end user computing.

Since their launch, government agencies, startups, and global enterprises have used AWS to handle their computational infrastructure in the clouds. 

Under Amazon’s leadership, AWS will strive to remain relevant in IaaS development in the years to come. 

PaaS: How It Works

Platform as a service, as a Google cloud model that leases hard and software tools, provides one with a cloud platform to develop and create software. 

For that reason, software developers tend to be the target audience to whom PaaS companies market. 

These products make it easier for developers to construct custom applications since they don’t have to outsource for data storage and management. 

That said, it’s important to mention that PaaS does not replace an existing IT infrastructure. Instead, it merges itself with elements that constitute underlying cloud infrastructure (such as servers, operating systems, and databases). 

Just like IaaS, PaaS offers additional services that complement the standard ones for which they were made: 

  • Database integration
  • Development team collaboration
  • Application design, testing, and development
  • Web integration
  • Information security

Examples of PAAS Companies

Apart from Microsoft Azure and AWS which offer PaaS services, there are some other companies that have made a name for themselves in this niche: 


Salesforce is a San Francisco based cloud provider whose services extend to PaaS. 

Via their platform, developers can create add on applications that users can later integrate into Saleforce’s main application. 

To accomplish this, the PaaS company uses a development language known as Apex in conjunction with a series of specialized tools. 

With over 20 years in the business, the company has participated in the development and growth of the industry as new and improved solutions come about. 

Software AG

Software AG has been developing software to transform companies’ digital presence for over 50 years. 

Therefore, it was only natural for them to turn to cloud services as a means of helping businesses to use technology for what its worth. 

Being one of the pioneers in PaaS development, the company has remodeled its platform by adding new tools that satisfy the current needs of developers. 

IBM Cloud

Originally called IBM Bluemix, IBM Cloud is a PaaS that IBM owns and develops. 

The platform is based on a public cloud app known as Cloud Foundry. 

What’s more, it works with several languages, including Python, Ruby on Rails, and PHP. 

Most other languages can be added through extension build packs. 

It remains one of the most popular PaaS companies today. 


FutureFuel.io is a SaaS company that developed and launched an app that manages student loan repayments. 

Founder and CEO, Laurel Taylor, started the company as a means of finding a solution to the student debt crisis in the U.S.

Now, she leads a team that is determined to levy the benefits of technology in the fight against student debt. 

The application allows one to make and manage one’s student loan payments. 

Moreover, it also manages contributions that are made by third parties towards a loan.

This may take the form of either an employer paying student loans or a friend lending a helping hand.

The company has its eyes set on clearing $30 billion by 2021. 

SaaS: How It Works

Software as a service distributes software hosted by a third party provider to a user via the internet.

A user gains access to this software by subscribing and paying the provider in accordance with their payment methods. 

An internet connection is required in order for Saas applications to work. That way, you don’t have to download or install any additional software in order to run these Google apps. 

Out of all three cloud services mentioned, SaaS remains the most popular choice among businesses. 

That’s because its software development is such that it’s easy to scale as your business grows and they are simple to use.

Because they’re simple, they tend to be cost effective for businesses since you don’t have to spend much time training your staff to use them.

There are a few trademarks about SaaS that they are known for: 

  • Are accessible with a valid subscription
  • Applications are accessible via smartphones and other devices
  • Don’t require any downloads or installations
  • Easy to scale applications to suit your business’s growth

Examples of SaaS Companies

There are many SaaS companies that have made a name for themselves, here are a few: 


Squibler is an intuitive software application that enables content creators to write content even faster. 

Although the app is geared towards content creators, authors and writers who produce a lot of written content find the app useful in helping them to complete their work faster. 

Among the features that the app has is the option to separate rough notes and note cards on a single screen. 

That way, by seeing their notes at the same time while writing, the author does not waste time flipping between their notes and the actual piece being developed. 

The app is available by way of subscription and is accessed via the internet. 


Lumen5 is another SaaS provider that has taken advantage of software to create an application that can be accessed with a web browser. 

The company’s app is a video content maker than converts content into a video that can be used for marketing purposes.

What separates Lumen5 from other video makers is the speed with which their application converts to text. 

Within seconds, the app turns text into a video slideshow. 

The software, just like all others that are considered SaaS, is accessible as long as you have an internet connection. 

Choosing IaaS vs. PaaS vs SaaS

There is no fast and steady rule to determine which cloud service reigns supreme in the IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS debate. 

Neither one is better than the other: each has their own advantages and disadvantages. 

The one that you select will depend on your business needs.

Evaluate your business’s strategy and action plan and determine which of these services will aid you the most in going forward. 

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Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is a business strategy consultant and founder. He's written several world-recognized books on software configuration, speaks Spanish, ballroom dances, and owns The Product Company and Squibler.