IaaS versus PaaS: What are the Differences?

In this blog, We are going to discuss Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) in detail with Differences.

It’s easy to get confused by the differences between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

They sound very similar and they both offer cloud infrastructure services, but IaaS offers greater flexibility because you can bring your own operating system and run it on cloud resources.

While PaaS offers greater ease of use because you don’t have to worry about running an operating system at all you can focus on building your application instead.

What is IaaS?

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, provides users with a virtualized environment to run applications on top of physical hardware.

Commonly known providers of infrastructure as a service include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace and DigitalOcean.

Unlike PaaS, IaaS offers administrators more direct control over operating systems and server configuration.

However, because these services are typically offered by third-party companies, they often come at a higher cost than Paas solutions.

In addition, IaaS requires advanced knowledge of how to configure servers properly for optimal performance.

While not difficult, it is also not as simple as launching an application from a web browser like you would in a Paas solution.

What is PaaS?

PaaS is an acronym for Platform as a Service, and It refers to an application delivery model in which cloud computing infrastructure and platform are provided.

It allows developers to build, test, deploy and manage their applications without provisioning or managing hardware or virtual machines.

This allows developers to focus on writing code rather than building infrastructure. The most common platforms used with PaaS are Java, PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails.

The best-known examples of PaaS providers include Google App Engine (for Python), Heroku (for Ruby) and Windows Azure (for .NET).

In addition to providing a runtime environment, these platforms also provide storage services and databases.

Many PaaS offerings also provide additional services such as load balancing, integration with social networks, and analytics tools.

Related Article: Top 10 Benefits of Cloud Computing.

The History of IaaS versus PaaS

Comparing IaaS vs. PaaS can be tricky since their histories are intertwined. As cloud computing began to make its way into IT departments around 2007, companies started experimenting with public clouds using virtual machines (VMs) that they could control via hypervisors (software that creates, runs, and manages VMs).

In 2008, Amazon Web Services announced Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which enabled users to rent servers on an hourly basis.

This was one of many early attempts at offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), At about the same time, Google launched App Engine, which offered Platform as a Service (PaaS).

It wasn’t until 2010 that Gartner officially categorized these services as IaaS and PaaS. Since then, both have become widely used by enterprises across all industries.

Related Article: On-premise Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What is the Difference?

What are the differences between IaaS versus PaaS?

In a nutshell, IaaS versus PaaS relates to what you control in terms of your application’s infrastructure.

With traditional, on-premises IT infrastructure, you control everything: operating systems, storage devices, and their configurations, networks, and bandwidth availability basically, anything that touches your data center is under your purview.

With cloud infrastructure services, called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Cloud platform services, called Platform as a Service (PaaS).

IaaS offers administrators more direct control over operating systems, whereas PaaS gives more flexibility and easy-going operations.

That said, there are several key differences between IaaS and PaaS providers. The most important distinction is that with IaaS, you own all of your hardware; with PaaS, someone else owns it for you.

This means that when using an IaaS provider like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, if something goes wrong with one of your servers or hard drives or if you want to upgrade one you have to fix it yourself.

But when using a PaaS provider like Google App Engine or Heroku, upgrades happen automatically without any effort from you.

Related Article: How to Perform On-premise to Cloud Migration in Azure?

How to choose between IaaS versus PaaS?

Cloud infrastructures come in two basic flavors: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Each one offers unique pros and cons, so it’s important to determine which one will work best for your business.

Our guide helps you decide. A little background on IaaS and PaaS The cloud infrastructure market is large and growing quickly.

The top four public cloud providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM SoftLayer.

Of these four companies, only AWS provides an IaaS service; Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and SoftLayer all offer PaaS services instead of IaaS.

IaaS allows users to deploy virtual machines (VMs) on demand and manage them through a web-based console.

This gives administrators more direct control over operating systems, but PaaS offers users greater flexibility and ease of operation.

For example, if you need a new database server or web server to handle increased traffic, with IaaS you can set up that VM yourself; with PaaS, however, that server would be ready when you logged into your account.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS is a cloud computing service model. With IaaS, you can provision cloud computing resources to deploy your own applications that use virtualization technologies such as Docker or KVM.

Users have full control over their operating systems, server software, hardware resources, etc. It’s similar to renting physical servers in a data center where users get complete control over all aspects of it.

In IaaS, you don’t need to buy any physical equipment but only pay for what you need when you need it.

As an example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers various services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage Service (S3), Relational Database Service (RDS), and others.

IaaS Advantages

Cloud infrastructure services, called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), offer administrators greater control over operating systems than do platform-as-service solutions.

IaaS works best for organizations that need to retain complete control over their cloud environment.

For example, public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services might not always work with your existing virtualization software.

In addition, large companies often want more flexibility when it comes to changing infrastructure variables like server location or primary data center.

You can’t change these things in an IaaS solution without affecting all of your users. If you have specific needs that require you to retain full control over how things are set up, then an IaaS solution is likely better suited for you.

When to Use IaaS?

It’s important to choose your infrastructure services provider wisely. If you’re planning on creating an app that requires a lot of scalability, for example, then it would be best to go with a platform-as-service provider like Amazon Web Services.

If you plan on using big data applications like Hadoop, use an infrastructure-as-service provider like Microsoft Azure.

While both IaaS and PaaS will help you create an app without needing to manage hardware, there are some considerations that can help you choose one over another. 

On the other hand, if your application doesn’t need to support as many users but has high processing requirements, it would be better to use an infrastructure-as-service provider.

This is because they offer more control over operating systems and virtual machines (VMs).

When choosing between these two types of cloud services, it’s also important to consider the cost: Platform-as-service providers generally charge less than infrastructure-as-service providers.

However, when deciding which type of service to use, keep in mind that not all cloud providers offer both types of services.

For example, while Amazon offers IaaS and PaaS under its AWS umbrella, Google offers only PaaS under its Google Cloud Platform name.

PaaS: Platform as a Service

If you’re looking for more control over your cloud environment, IaaS is probably a better fit for you.

Unlike its fellow service model, Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers administrators more direct control over operating systems.

With cloud computing services such as Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure, users can order a number of server resources from their providers.

They then have complete control over how they use those resources to run their applications.

It’s important to note that with IaaS, you still pay for those server resources whether or not they are being used you just don’t have to manage them directly.

PaaS Advantages

Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers a number of advantages over Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), one of which is its speed.

In fact, in many cases, it’s possible to develop code in just hours or days rather than weeks or months.

This means users can iterate more quickly, getting new software out to market before their competitors do.

Another advantage of PaaS is that it allows for greater customizability, With IaaS, you have control over infrastructure components like virtual machines and storage but little control over operating systems.

With PaaS, you have greater control over both infrastructure components and operating systems while still taking advantage of off-the-shelf cloud solutions.

When to Use PaaS?

Since cloud software is automatically updated, it’s easier to stay up-to-date with security patches. But if you’re managing your own servers or applications, you may want to stick with infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

If that’s your situation, using a platform as a service (PaaS) can help you skip some of those administrative tasks since they’re managed in a central location.

For example, if your app isn’t going to require a lot of computing power but needs to support many users at once, it would be best to use a platform-as-service provider.

This is because a platform-as-service provider will offer you more flexibility in terms of how much memory or processing power your application needs.


The two main types of cloud computing services, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), can be hard to tell apart, but understanding the differences between them will help you to decide which service will be better for your organization’s needs.

IaaS offers administrators more direct control over operating systems, but PaaS gives subscribers more flexibility and ease of operation.

You can also think of PaaS as hosting software applications on platforms that have been configured by the provider, while IaaS gives you the ability to install and configure new software on an existing cloud infrastructure.

Related Article: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS in Cloud Computing: Complete Guide

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