What is the Difference Between Iaas and Paas?

Together with SaaS, IaaS and PaaS constitute the foundations of cloud computing. All three are types of cloud-based services that are employed using a network of different servers to host, store, manage, and even process data online. All of this takes place in the cloud. While that is a basic explanation of the overall approach of cloud computing, knowing when to employ PaaS vs Iaas and understanding what the difference between IaaS and PaaS are critical to the successful deployment of either cloud platform or choosing a one of the many cloud providers offering these tools.

What is the Difference Between IaaS and PaaS?

In a traditional, on-premises computing environment, it is the responsibility of your company and IT department to handle applications, software, data, operation systems, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking, among other computing requirements. Both IaaS and PaaS offer cloud service options designed to relieve this responsibility, in part, from the shoulders of your business and your IT employees. However, the manner in which IaaS and PaaS handle this is different.

IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service, and as you might guess, IaaS providers offer an IaaS platform that removes the burden of infrastructure concerns from your business. Rather than purchasing servers and other networking equipment, your business accesses these critical infrastructure resources through a third-party vendor. Your IT department would still be responsible for installing, maintaining, and updating any resources involving applications, data management, and operating systems, as well as taking responsibility for runtime and middleware concerns.

PaaS refers to Platform as a Service and goes a step further than IaaS in what it offers. PaaS providers can provide access to infrastructure resources such as networking, data storage, and servers, while also providing virtualization services that handle operating systems for virtual machines and middleware for developers and programmers to leverage in the course of completing daily operations. By utilizing a PaaS vendor, this leaves your in-house IT employees with the responsibility of applications and data management as part of their core duties.

In short, you can think of an IaaS solution as one of the cloud service models that is limited to storage, networking, and virtualization. An IaaS model is often provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing you to increase or decrease resources as needed. PaaS solutions can vary in the robust nature of offerings based on PaaS providers, but in general, provide hardware and software tools that are accessible over the internet.

What is an Example of PaaS?

PaaS is often considered the hardest of the three cloud computing services to concisely define. In some cases, it doesn’t fit into a nice box that can be tied up with a cute bow. PaaS solutions aim to provide the end-user with basic IaaS services, as well as a host of tools and capabilities that enable application development and deployment. You will often find the difference in PaaS solutions comes down to the infrastructure approach of the provider and the specific additional capabilities, such as middleware, database management, and analytics software.

In general, the goal of PaaS is to deliver computing resources that provide developers with the computing framework that enables them to build custom applications and deploy those applications. This includes both the supporting infrastructure and applications to run on it. Examples of this include:

  • Google Apps: The most obvious solution to the average individual is the suite of applications from Google. Applications such as Google Drive and Google Docs are accessible from any computer and are supported by Google infrastructure. From these applications, the end-user can complete a variety of tasks without worrying about software licenses, updates, or server maintenance

What is an Example of IaaS?

IaaS is cloud-based infrastructure that allows your company to control its own data infrastructure without the burden of also having to physically manage all of the servers and other networking resources onsite, which is one of the primary benefits of IaaS. Computing power and data storage are handled on remote servers employees access via the internet. That’s all well and good to read, but what does that look like in real life as a deployed IaaS model? Here are two examples:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS is a popular IaaS solution that provides on-demand cloud computing resources. Companies can store data and deliver content without the upfront investment in servers and other networking resources.
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure is ideal for companies that want cloud-computing resources that enable the building, testing, and managing of applications through offsite data centers. In this case, servers and networking resources are provided, secured, and maintained by Microsoft.

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Pros and Cons of PaaS

PaaS models come with a variety of pros and cons, just like any cloud computing solution. Given the typical environment in which PaaS is deployed, the most important advantage to PaaS is the ability of developers to customize apps without worrying about maintaining the software at the heart of development and deployment. Other benefits include the scalable nature of the model, a reduction in the amount of coding required, and the ability to automate the business policy.

Possible cons of a PaaS solution include data security concerns when third-party vendors control the servers and security software protecting sensitive data. A breach in the data center, even if not aimed at your company, can have an impact on the security of your data. For businesses running legacy systems, it is not always a smooth plug-and-play transition between your programs and those of the PaaS provider. These cons can, however, vary based on the vendor your work with to deploy a PaaS environment.

Pros and Cons of IaaS

No cloud computing solution is 100% complete without drawbacks. When deciding between IaaS and PaaS solutions, it is important to understand the difference between IaaS and PaaS, as well as the pros and cons of each. In general, IaaS is the most versatile cloud computing model because it makes it easier to automate the deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power for your company. Hardware purchases are based on individual client consumption needs. Best of all, it is a scalable solution in which you can pay for as much or as little computing power as your company requires.

When considering IaaS, remember that security concerns on the hosted virtual machines pose a potential threat to your data. Other potential cons include issues when operating legacy systems in a cloud-computing environment. As such, it’s important to find a trusted IaaS provider.

Is IaaS More Expensive than PaaS?

There are two ways of looking at the costs associated with IaaS and PaaS cloud computing services. If you judge the two cloud services based solely on the price of the solution, you might find that IaaS is less expensive than PaaS. How is this possible? Well, IaaS has a flexible payment schedule resulting from the ability to add or subtract computing resources as your company requires. For example, if you have seasonal increases in demand, you can quickly and affordably add resources for that period at a higher price and drop back down (in cost and resources) once demand subsides. The same is true of most PaaS models, but you are also paying for a greater array of services within your package because PaaS solutions include computing infrastructure.

Additionally, some companies view IaaS as less expensive because it allows them to avoid the capital expenditure of all the physical computing resources, such as servers and networking equipment, that support the daily computing needs of the business.

However, IaaS can be the more expensive option in public cloud scenarios because it removes the least burden from your existing staff. What makes IaaS more expensive in this case is the fact that it requires in-house technical expertise from your IT staff to support the company’s cloud computing needs. Physical machines, software programs, and operating systems all still require updating and maintenance, and you may need skilled IT staff capable of bridging the gap between your legacy systems in-house and operations taking place in the cloud.

The best way to control the costs of IaaS or PaaS is to work with a reliable, trusted third-party cloud vendor. Avatara is a service provider with a unique private cloud IT platform, CompleteCloud. Most service models offer limited features that require a complex process of connecting your hardware, cloud-based applications, network, and unique work flows. Whether you are using a cloud IaaS model or trying to develop a new application it can be a hassle connecting all these various aspects of your IT environment. Here at Avatara we wanted to simplify that process.

Our unique IT platform provides you with everything you need to start leveraging IT to improve your business. CompleteCloud is bundled into a per user per month price that covers your hardware, internet connectivity, 24x7x365 U.S. based support, cyber security, disaster recovery, and the tools you need to improve your productivity. If you have a large upcoming IT purchase, are experiencing any IT pains, or feel your IT is limiting your productivity CompleteCloud is the right fit for you. We work with a variety of industries but we specialize in industries that have highly complex business flows and businesses with compliance concerns. You can learn more about the industries we work with here.

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