The Difference Between IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and XaaS


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As businesses transition from on-premise solutions to cloud-based solutions, there has also been a major shift in business models.  Companies are no longer purchasing hardware and software outright, but rather only paying for the services used.

Let's use a boat ride as a simple metaphor.  One option would be to buy the boat and then pay to dock, maintain, insure and fuel it for years to come.  Another option would be to pay someone to take you out on their boat whenever you wanted to get out on the water. This would be boating as a service – and obviously it has some advantages.

There is now a wide array of technologies that are being offered “as a Service” (aaS), including IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and XaaS. Here’s a brief look at these various cloud service models and the differences between them.

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – IaaS provides customers with cloud computing infrastructure.  This includes servers, network, operating systems and data storage.  Instead of investing in pricey hardware and data centers, businesses can easily scale up or down according to their needs.  By doing so, they are only paying for what they use.  Popular examples of IaaS include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metacloud, Rackspace and Microsoft Azure.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service) – This is more of the traditional model of using software.  SaaS can include purchasing, downloading and installing it on a device and then updating it on a regular basis.  Now, SaaS enables users to access a variety of software from any device with an internet connection.  Popular examples of SaaS include Google Workspace, SAP Concur, Salesforce, and Cisco WebEx.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service) – Cloud platform services or "PaaS" provides the necessary software and infrastructure needed to support and enhance application development.  PaaS provides a framework for developers so they can quickly build custom applications, with less coding.  This also allows them to worry less about operating systems, software updates, storage or infrastructure.  Examples of PaaS include Microsoft Azure, AWS Elastic Beanstock, and Google App Engine.
  • XaaS (Anything as a Service) – XaaS encompasses the whole category of cloud computing services, recognizing the vast number of solutions, tools and technologies delivered “as a Service” over the Internet. XaaS can cut costs for businesses with a pay-as-you-go model, reducing the need for purchasing multiple products and also by transferring capital expenses into operating costs. XaaS can also speed new products to market, automate business processes, and free up IT resources to focus on innovation.

Dobler Consulting LLC is a leading provider of database services, premier software development, and information technology support, servicing clients ranging from small businesses to FORTUNE companies across multiple industry verticals. Not sure which cloud service model is best for your business? We can help. To learn more visit DoblerConsulting.com or call us at +1 (813) 322-3240.