Types of Cloud Services: IaaS, PaaS, serverless and SaaS

by Aaron Finch

Find out the different types of cloud services and their advantages and disadvantages.In this blog we will look at each of these services in some more detail and explore the differences between each.

What You Should Know About Cloud Services

The phrase “cloud services” might sound a little vague, but it actually refers to a number of different things. In this post, we will be highlighting the three major categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). 

All three have benefits, though they are not created equal – some can cost you more than others depending on your specific business needs. More importantly, it is important to understand what each type of service offers before making up your mind about which one might be best for you.


IaaS is short for Infrastructure as a Service. It is the simplest of the three cloud services because it just provides a platform for you to build your own applications and services on top of. Services offered under the IaaS umbrella include everything from database software to web hosting, from email servers to voice over IP (VoIP). 

Cloud providers like Amazon that offer IaaS will provide a complete platform environment with all necessary tools like databases and language runtimes, which lets you build whatever software you need without having to worry about maintaining any of it. IaaS is great for people who want to get up and running quickly, but it does not offer much in the way of customization or choice.

Cost: IaaS can be quite expensive, but you can opt for a pay-as-you-go model that charges for the actual resources you use. This is a great option for small business owners who don’t want to commit to long-term contracts.


PaaS is short for Platform as a Service, and it refers to cloud services that are designed primarily as platforms rather than complete environments in and of themselves. The goal of PaaS is to make it easier for developers to build applications without needing to worry about things like scaling, server maintenance, and database management. 

Most PaaS platforms will provide basic development tools as well, though they are not as robust or full-featured as the ones you might get with IaaS. This can be a good thing, however, as it allows you more flexibility in how you design your apps.

Cost: The cost of PaaS depends on what specific platform you are using. Some providers will charge for transactions and usage, while others charge a flat rate for access to the platform and its components.


Last but not least is Software as a Service, which refers to cloud services that are built specifically for applications like email, databases, and customer relationship management (CRM).

 SaaS solutions are unique in that they can be fully hosted and managed by the provider, or they can be self-hosted solutions that you host yourself while still maintaining a relationship with the software provider. Many SaaS providers also provide mobile apps to access your information on mobile devices.

Cost: Most SaaS solutions are paid for based on how much you use them. They typically have a cost per user (CPU) model where the more people are using the software, the more you have to pay.


Another increasingly popular option is the Serverless platform. Serverless platforms are similar to IaaS in that they offer a development environment, but they are different in that there are no servers to manage and maintain. With Serverless, the provider takes care of all the hosting, databases, and other backend infrastructure. All you have to do is build your app.

 This model removes some of the limitations of IaaS models by allowing for more control over how your application runs (and where it runs), but it does come with a bit more complexity than most other solutions offered in this space.

Cloud Computing: IaaS Vs. PaaS Vs. SaaS

The Cloud seems to be slowly reaching towards ubiquity as people look for more efficient and cost-effective options to solve their business problems. The three main types of cloud services are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), all of which aim to solve different business problems at different price points. 

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