Azure PaaS and IaaS: How Can You Leverage Them, and What Are Their Differences?

Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are offered on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. Together with Software as a Service (SaaS), they are essential components for building, deploying, and managing applications hosted on Azure, or any other cloud computing platform for that matter. There is some confusion surrounding PaaS and SaaS, though. It is important to understand the differences between the two so that organizations can determine the most suitable solution for their requirements.

What Is Azure PaaS?

Azure PaaS and IaaSBefore getting into the details of Azure PaaS, it’s necessary to understand Azure SaaS – which is the full complement of services that allows organizations to develop, deploy, and manage their applications from end to end on the platform. In Azure SaaS, your applications and databases are hosted on Microsoft’s data centers. Your organization utilizes the Azure portal to manage applications and various other tools like operating systems, servers, storage, and firewalls and other security features offered on the Azure platform. Depending on the traffic that your application receives, the platform decides when to scale the application up or down based on user-provided settings.

Azure SaaS encompasses both Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS. In fact, Azure PaaS (like Azure IaaS) is built on top of Azure SaaS, stopping just short of the application and data side. This means that an organization that selects Azure PaaS is still responsible for managing its applications and data, e.g., deciding when to scale them up to meet future demand. Thus, Azure PaaS requires your organization to have expert personnel who can manage applications. However, application maintenance is still easier than managing your own servers (Azure also takes care of hosting), and your developers still rely on all of the other features and services offered on the platform.

Operating systems, development tools, database management, and business analytics are among the wide range of services Azure PaaS offers. Also included are the components and services that form part of Azure IaaS. Thus, Azure PaaS offers organizations a relatively easy, yet more affordable, way to develop and deploy cloud-based applications. It is ideal for organizations looking to simplify development and utilize analytics, business intelligence and other services offered on the Azure platform.

What Is Azure IaaS?

Like Azure PaaS, Azure IaaS is built on top of Azure SaaS. As the word “infrastructure” in its name suggests, Azure IaaS comprises the servers and storage, networking firewalls and security, and the actual physical data centers on which your applications run, with the servers residing on completely virtual machines.

Azure IaaS is the minimum component that your organization can take advantage of on the Azure platform. With it, your organization is free from worrying about server hardware and other equipment that form the backbone of your applications and services. However, you still need to purchase, install and manage the operating systems, databases, middleware, development tools and other applications that are on the virtual machines.

Organizations using Azure IaaS require trained people who can maintain the platforms you develop on, e.g., Windows Servers, Visual Studio.NET, and SQL Server. Administrators need to maintain operating systems, perform backups, configure antivirus software and install patches, among other tasks. Azure IaaS is ideal for organizations looking to scale up testing and development, host websites and web apps, or utilize high-performance computing involving complex calculations and big data analysis.

Benefits of using Azure PaaS

Azure PaaS delivers infrastructure as a service, allowing organizations to tap into the benefits of IaaS. However, it also incorporates middleware such as, programming tools and other business tools, giving organizations more advantages, including:

Differences Between Azure PaaS and IaaS

Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS are distinct from each other in the following ways:

The above list makes it easy to see when and where your organization should use Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS. If your organization does not have trained administrators and it just wants to go into development straight away, Azure PaaS may work for you. If you want flexibility and have personnel that can help maintain your development platform, you may want to go with Azure IaaS instead.

Make a Smooth Transition to the Cloud with Parallels RAS

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) smoothens your transition to the cloud, whether on Azure PaaS, Azure IaaS, or another platform. Parallels RAS eases transitions to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) by enabling organizations to deliver fully-functioning, virtual Windows desktops and applications on any device. It also supports provisioning of VDI and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) workloads directly on Microsoft Azure, allowing creation, scalability and management of required workloads on demand. Moreover, Parallels RAS makes the auto-provisioning and auto-scaling of workloads possible, allowing your organization to find the right balance between availability and compute cost on Azure.

In addition, Parallels RAS helps speed up application and desktop delivery on any device. It is compatible with Windows Server versions between 2008 and 2019, allowing access to Windows applications from anywhere and also access to a myriad of operating systems and technologies, including Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi.

It also supports Remote Desktop Services (RDS), overcoming its limitations and allowing quick publication of applications and desktops through the Parallels RAS Console. Parallels RAS won a Platinum Award for Application Security in the 2020 Government Security Awards, or “The Govies”, presented by Security Today magazine. You can try out Parallels RAS by downloading your 30-day trial.


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