What are the Differences between Infrastructure (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)?

The cloud is a hot topic for businesses of all sizes across the UK and around the world. Even though there is increased migration to the cloud, most enterprises do not fully understand the concept and how it can benefit them. Studies show that moving forward, organisations will need to adopt the cloud to not only compete favourably but also to survive. If you are considering switching your business to the cloud, you must understand the differences and advantages of the various cloud services and deployments. In this article, we will delve deeper into the differences between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) and evaluate their uniqueness so you can make the right choice for your organisation.

Let’s start from the basics.

What is Cloud Computing?

Put simply, cloud computing is the use of computer resources (both hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network which typically is the internet. There are many models of cloud computing but let’s focus on IaaS and PaaS.

Defining PaaS

Platform as a Service (PaaS), also known as Cloud platform services, provide cloud components to certain software with its primary use being in applications. It gives developers a framework that they can build upon and use to create custom applications. All servers, networking and storage can be managed by a third party provider or the enterprise while management of the applications is left to the developers.

The platform is delivered through the web allowing your IT team to concentrate on building custom applications for your organisation without having to worry about infrastructure, operating systems, storage or software updates. The applications they create, called middleware, take on certain cloud characteristics and are therefore highly available and scalable.

Advantages of PaaS

PaaS offers numerous advantages to organisations of all size, including;

  • Scalable
  • Highly available
  • Simple, cost-effective app development and deployment
  • Automation of business policy
  • Reduced amount of coding needed and software maintenance requirements
  • Facilitates easy migration to the hybrid model

Using PaaS in your Organisation

PaaS is particularly beneficial when creating custom applications and when other vendors need to be included as it greatly streamlines workflow thereby improving speed and flexibility in the project.

Examples of PaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), also known as cloud infrastructure services, are made of highly automated and scalable computing resources. It is fully self-service for monitoring and accessing computers, storage, networking and other services. It allows you to purchase the resources you need on an on-demand basis instead of having to buy hardware.

IaaS uses virtualisation technology to deliver cloud computing infrastructure including servers, operating systems, network and storage. Typically, the cloud servers are delivered to the clients through an API or a dashboard which gives them complete control over the entire infrastructure. Many people view IaaS as a “virtual data centre” as it provides organisations with the same capabilities and technologies as a traditional data centre but through the cloud.

One key aspect to note is that unlike PaaS, IaaS clients are responsible for managing aspects such as applications, Operating systems, runtime, data and middleware. However, IaaS providers manage the hard drives, virtualisation, networking and storage.

Advantages of IaaS

  • Easy to automate deployment of servers, storage, networking and processing power
  • It is the most flexible cloud computing model
  • Resources can be purchased on-demand thereby cutting costs
  • Highly scalable
  • Clients have full control of their infrastructure
  • Hardware can be purchased on a need basis

Using IaaS in your Organisation

Although every organisation can benefit from IaaS, the following circumstances emerge as the most advantageous

  • Small companies and start-ups can avoid spending large amounts of money on purchasing and creating software and hardware.
  • Large companies can retain complete control over their infrastructure and applications while only spending on what they need.
  • Companies experiencing rapid growth that need to scale specific hardware, software and other resources as needs change.

Examples of IaaS

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Cisco Metacloud
  • Google Compute Engine (GCE)
  • Linode

Key Differences between PaaS and IaaS

The two service models mostly differ in what they provide for the end-user out of the box. This is in regards to speed of customisation, cost and level of control.

IaaS offers complete control over all cloud services. Although this can be advantageous, it also means that you have to do everything by yourself which can increase costs. In the case of PaaS, you have to give up a measure of control which can also help you control costs and adopt the best-serviced and best-skilled solutions. PaaS is seen as the most basic level of cloud computing models or the lowest common denominator offering flexibility and speed while also aligning outcomes.

Which Service Does your Organisation Need, IaaS or PaaS?

The direct answer is that it depends. Your choice of cloud services depends on your organisation’s needs. What’s most important to you? Standardisation or complete control? Application development or scalability? At AdEPT, we believe the answer lies in adopting the cloud services that make sense for you. And as interoperable hybrid cloud deployments become the expectation rather than the exception, knowing what your organisation needs are more important than ever. The AdEPT range of cloud services including Azure is based on understanding what your needs are and implementing the solutions that best serve your business. Are you still wondering what are cloud services and how they can help your business? Or do you want to learn more about Azure and how it can benefit your business? Contact us today and talk to one of our seasoned IT professionals and let us help you make a smooth transition to the cloud.

Sami Malik

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager