Guest post originally published on MSys Technology‘s blog by Akash Bakshi of MSys Technologies

PaaS and IaaS are two of the earliest and most widely used cloud computing services. They are similar in some ways, yet fundamentally different types of platforms. In simple words, IaaS is the combination of PaaS, Operating System, Middleware, and Runtime.

Enterprises must understand these differences to choose the right type of cloud service for a given use case. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offers added control and flexibility over cloud infrastructure but is more complex to manage and optimize. In contrast, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions offer the tools and the infrastructure required to expedite deployment. 

However, security, integration, and vendor lock-in are issues to look at in PaaS. This blog explains the definitions of IaaS vs. PaaS, its benefits and drawbacks, and a few examples of both IaaS and PaaS.

IaaS vs. PaaS– Definitions

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers on-demand access to virtualized IT infrastructure through the internet. Mostly, IaaS offerings allow access only to the core infrastructure components like compute, networking and storage. Users can install and manage the software they want to run on their cloud-based infrastructure.

Platform as a service (PaaS) offers the infrastructure to host applications and also software tools to help clients build and deploy the applications. PaaS simplifies the entire setup and management of both hardware and software.

Comparatively, PaaS is less flexible than IaaS and mainly caters to a narrow set of application development or deployment approaches. To be honest, they are not general-purpose replacements for an enterprise’s complete IT infrastructure and software development workflow.

IaaS vs. PaaS- Benefits

Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions offer networking, storage, servers, operating systems, and other resources required to run the workloads. Infrastructure is made available by making use of the virtualization technology and can be used on a pay-as-you-go model.

Benefits of IaaS solutions are:

  • Fast scalability with the capacity to quickly provision or release computing resources as and when needed.
  • Lowered costs, as companies pay only for the infrastructure they employ.
  • Better usage of IT investments as there is no need for over-provisioning.
  • Higher agility, offering enterprises the capacity to move quickly and take advantage of business opportunities.

Platform-as-a-Service solutions offer cloud-based environments for developing, testing, running, and managing web-driven and cloud-driven applications. Companies get a state-of-the-art development environment without the need to buy, build or manage the underlying infrastructure. 

Benefits of PaaS solutions are:

  • Rapid results with less time for coding, as PaaS solutions primarily include built-in options for pre-coded elements.
  • More straightforward collaboration. Thanks to a development environment hosted in the cloud it is easier for distributed teams to collaborate.
  • Better performance, with support for the entire web application lifecycle inside a single integrated environment.
  • Lower costs due to agile development at scale.

IaaS vs. PaaS- Disadvantages

Disadvantages of IaaS are:

  • The infrastructure runs legacy applications with cloud services, but these infrastructures might not be devised to secure legacy controls.
  • Management of some internal resources required to manage business tasks
  • Training is required more than often.
  • Clients are responsible for business continuity, backup, and data security.

Disadvantages of PaaS are:

  • The data residing in the cloud servers is controlled by a third party.
  • It can often be challenging to connect the services with the data stored in onsite data centers.
  • It might not be easy to manage system migration if the vendor does not offer migration policies.
  • Though PaaS services usually offer a wide range of customization and integration features, customization of legacy systems can become a big concern with Platform as a Service.
  • PaaS limitations can be associated with particular services and applications as PaaS does not support all languages users want to work with.

IaaS vs. PaaS- Examples

Examples of IaaS are:

AWS- Amazon Web Services

Microsoft Azure

Google Cloud

Digital Ocean

Alibaba Cloud

Examples of PaaS are:

Heroku

Elastic Beanstalk from AWS

Engine Yard

Open Shift from RedHat

Conclusion

IaaS and PaaS are the most impressive emerging technologies ruling the world of cloud computing currently. Both have their own benefits and disadvantages. However, understanding the details given above can help identify which of these services will be beneficial for you to use. The choice depends on the requirements of specific workloads. 

To keep up with the emerging standards of modernization, enterprises must invest in cloud computing. Not only will it help in serving your customers better, but it will also help your business grow. It will remove the complexities and limitations that traditional IT infrastructures pose. Once you’ve decided that, choose whether you must opt for IaaS or PaaS, depending on how you want to run your cloud-based applications.

About MSys Technologies (named to the 2021 Global Outsourcing 100 List): We are a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider and CNCF Silver member. We architect, develop, and manage modern distributed systems leveraging open-source, cloud-native, and containerized technologies with a Kubernetes-centric focus.

Author 

Akash Bakshi is a Bangalore-based writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. He uses that curiosity, combined with his near a decade of experience as a technology writer who writes about subjects valuable to the tech industry with technologies/practices such as Cloud computing, AI, ML, SRE, DevOps, among others. Currently, he works with MSys Technologies as a Lead Content Writer.