Posted by: Jeff Timmins | October 22, 2010

IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – what’s the difference?

IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – Mike Grey at ZDnet wrote about the these definitions in Cloud Computing: Demystifying IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.  His purpose was to help business understand which one to use for their various needs but I found it a good general explanation of the “XaaS” options.  See the article for the details but here are the general descriptions:

• Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides data center, infrastructure hardware and software resources over the Internet. IaaS can provide server, operating system, disk storage, database, and/or messaging resources.  The highest- profile example is Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS), but IBM, VMware, HP and other traditional IT vendors are also offering services.

• Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides infrastructure on which software developers can build new applications or extend existing applications without requiring the need to purchase development, QA, or production server infrastructure.’s, Google’s App Engine, and Microsoft’s Azure are examples of PaaS.

• Software as a Service (SaaS) is … a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet.  Also known as “on demand” software, it is the most mature type of Cloud Computing because of its high flexibility, proven support services, enhanced scalability, reduced customer maintenance, and reduced cost due to their multi-tenet architectures. Examples include, NetSuite, Google’s Gmail and


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