SaaS, IaaS and PaaS… the main types of cloud services explained

The cloud has become a must-have for businesses. Essentially, the cloud is the delivery of IT over the internet; yet, the obtuse world of IT acronyms can confuse and bewilder non-IT professionals. The rise of the cloud and different types of cloud services has certainly added a host of new terms. In recent years IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, CaaS, XaaS (and more) have all joined the ever-expanding IT lexicon.

In this post, we are going to explore the three most important types of cloud services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

These are the building blocks of cloud computing. Many businesses believe that moving to the cloud is inordinately expensive. But by selecting the services based on the requirements of your business (and only paying for those you actually use) you can reduce your current costs as they stand now considerably.

Doing so requires in-depth knowledge of how your business operates, how processes can be improved, and the intricacies of cloud technology like IaaS, SaaS and PaaS.

3 types of cloud services: IaaS, SaaS and PaaS

When deciding on whether to move to the cloud or to remain on-premises (or to adopt a hybrid approach), it’s important to identify the types of cloud services that will bring around the most significant benefits to your business – or how a blend of the three could be the best solution.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

What is it?

IaaS is a way of putting an organization’s IT infrastructure (e.g. storage, hosting, networking) in the cloud. Traditionally this would all have been run on a physical server in the office or in a data centre and would have required an organisation to hire IT staff to look after it. Now businesses can move all of this to the cloud.

For many organisations moving to the cloud, IaaS is the first step in their journey to the cloud. This is because, in many ways, it’s the easiest. For instance, Centrality can move all your IT infrastructure to cloud without impacting the business’s day-to-day operations. Aside from your IT staff, your employees wouldn’t be affected. Migrating to IaaS is quick, easy and causes little to no disruption – yet, at the same time, provides many benefits, including huge cost savings.

What are the benefits?

The advantage of IaaS is that it saves your business money by removing the on-going costs that would come with your IT team managing and supporting your IT infrastructure. What’s more, this frees them up to work on pushing the business forward.

IaaS also means you only pay for what you use. IaaS is highly scalable: if you see a boost in traffic to an application, for instance, you can increase resources during this time and scale them back afterwards. IaaS is infrastructure that moulds to the cloud apps you need, when you need them most, for ultimate cost efficiencies.

Microsoft Azure is a great example of IaaS—providing you with servers in the cloud rather than on-premises.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

What is it?

SaaS is software in the cloud. When we log into our email clients or workplace productivity tools online, it’s SaaS. Traditionally, people would buy software on a disc and manually install it to a machine, now software is hosted by vendors in the cloud and can be accessed online.

A great example is Microsoft’s Office 365 – which has brought Office products like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, and SharePoint in to the cloud as well as introducing new tools like data analytics (PowerBI) and business communications (Skype for Business & Microsoft Teams).

What are the benefits?

Users can access SaaS services online, which is great for businesses looking for tools to boost productivity in the modern workplace. Office 365 users have access to powerful collaboration and communication tools anytime, anywhere – if an employee is working from home they can talk to colleagues and access the files that they need just as easily as if they were sitting at their workstation in the office.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

What is it? 

PaaS  gives organisations the tools to build apps in the cloud and the infrastructure to support them. In fact, it can help you through the entire lifecycle of app development – from building to testing, deploying, managing and updating. It facilitates everything from building a simple web app to deploying large and sophisticated enterprise apps. PaaS makes it quick, easy and secure for developers to build applications in the cloud.

What are the benefits?

The Azure cloud is also relevant here as, like IaaS, PaaS also includes infrastructure—servers, storage, and networking. But it also includes development tools, business intelligence, database management and more.

Azure PaaS is scalable, and helps developers create apps without having to manage and maintain the software. All the while reducing the amount of coding required and speeding up time to market.

Move to the cloud with Centrality

Moving to the cloud is not just a great opportunity to drive your business forward, it’s becoming more essential to the every-day workings of the business. To stay competitive and meet the demands of modern working, moving your business to the cloud is therefore an essential step.

As we have seen the cloud is multi-faceted and many-sided. Businesses can benefit from SaaS, IaaS and PaaS individually. But businesses could also benefit from a blend of all three. The route to the cloud can therefore be complex and should be tailored to each organisation and its unique requirements. Only Centrality can help plot a course through it all and ensure your new cloud environment is right for you.

At Centrality, we are Microsoft and cloud experts—a certified Microsoft Gold Partner for Cloud Platform and Productivity. We’re extremely well-versed in Office 365 and Azure, able to help you build a cloud environment that is right for your business, and make the migration there as easy, affordable and pain-free as possible.

We strive to pick exactly (and only) the right cloud services for your business, so you can solve your most pressing business problems and capitalize on your next revenue opportunity. We welcome every business to come to our head offices to see first-hand what we can offer. We can walk you through the ins and outs of cloud computing and help your business succeed in the digital world.

For more information about the cloud and how we can help you move to the cloud, contact us today.