Difference between IaaS and PaaS: What You Need to Know

Cloud computing services provide the speed, flexibility, and scalability that allows organizations to develop, innovate, and support IT operations. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) are the three primary cloud computing services. This post delves into the differences between IaaS and PaaS.

What Is IaaS?

IaaS is a cloud computing service model where the cloud service provider (CSP) uses the internet to provision compute, storage, and network resources to consumers on demand. The CSP manages the IT infrastructure components that you expect to find in an on-premises datacenter, including servers, storage, and networking resources.

IaaS allows organizations to scale and shrink resources according to specific needs where they pay via a pay-as-you-go pricing scheme. This minimizes the need for high, upfront capital expenditures (CapEx) or unnecessary owned IT infrastructure.

Besides the essential IT infrastructure, CSPs may also provide detailed billing, security, load balancing, and storage resiliency features. Businesses can use the IaaS model to support testing and development, high-performance computing (HPC), and hosting websites, among others.

What Is PaaS?

In a PaaS model, the CSP provides consumers with a complete cloud platform—hardware, software, and the infrastructure—for developing, deploying, and managing applications. PaaS allows developers to build, test, run, and scale applications more quickly—without the complexities, costs, and inflexibility associated with developing and maintaining applications in an on-premises IT infrastructure.

This is because the CSP provider hosts and manages everything—servers, storage, networks, storage, operating systems (OSs), middleware, databases, and development tools—at its datacenter. You can choose the pay-as-you-go pricing model where you pay only for the resources consumed or pay a fixed fee for a specified amount of resources developers need.

Besides providing a development framework, organizations can also use PaaS tools for analyzing and mining their data. PaaS can also offer additional services that improve applications such as security, scheduling, and directory.

What Are the Differences between IaaS and PaaS?

The table below highlights the major distinctions between IaaS and PaaS:

Feature IaaS PaaS
Who are the core users? IaaS solutions are meant to help system administrators. PaaS solutions are meant for developers, development and operations (DevOps) teams, and database administrators.
What are the services provided? An IaaS solution creates a virtual datacenter consisting of servers, storage, and networking resources. IT administrators can use the virtual datacenter to create services and platforms for the applications development lifecycle. A PaaS solution creates a virtual platform that developers can use instantly to develop, test, and deploy applications.
What does the CSP control? A CSP manages servers, storage, and networking resources through virtualization in an IaaS environment. A CSP manages servers, storage, networking, middleware, databases, development, and business intelligence (BI) tools in a PaaS environment.
What does the user manage? The user manages the OS, middleware, databases, applications, and runtime environment. The user controls applications and databases.

What Are Some Use Cases for IaaS and PaaS?

Businesses can use IaaS for various purposes, including:

On the other hand, PaaS can ease various IT initiatives such as:

Benefits and Drawbacks of IaaS

Some advantages that the IaaS model provides include:

The major drawback of leveraging IaaS is that IT teams are still responsible for ensuring the security of the infrastructure. In this regard, IT teams must ensure that applications and OSs are working perfectly to achieve the utmost security.

Benefits and Drawbacks of PaaS

Some of the most popular advantages of PaaS include:

Despite these benefits, PaaS has two notable drawbacks:

Parallels RAS: Deploy on IaaS Cloud Environments

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is an easy-to-use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that integrates seamlessly with Azure IaaS. Parallels RAS on Azure IaaS allows enterprises to have access to an affordable, quick, flexible, and more reliable platform for deploying and managing virtual applications and desktops globally.

Businesses can leverage Parallels RAS on Azure IaaS to deploy and scale their VDI workloads on-demand, rendering faster provisions and streamlining IT management. They can also improve the flexibility of remote desktop session host (RDSH) deployments by combining on-premises, public, and hybrid cloud environments.

Parallels RAS also extends and streamlines the capabilities of Azure Virtual Desktop—Microsoft’s desktop as a service (DaaS) offering. Enterprises can integrate Parallels RAS deployment with existing or new Azure Virtual Desktops to deliver an all-in-one VDI solution to end users.

Download a free, 30-day Parallels RAS trial today to test drive its cloud capabilities!