Cloud Application Service (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS): Easy explanation for business people


What is Cloud Computing?

Getting an image of yourself sitting on a soft, fluffy, pearl-white cloud with your laptop in lap?

Certainly not! Cloud computing is the use of a distinct network of servers hosted on the internet for computing and processing of the data from remote locations.

All that we see on the internet through the browsers, is not stored in our computer. We can merely access, and view the data as and when required. Similarly, a cloud application services are like having our entire computing power on the internet, which can be made available to us as and when required, and in whichever amount.

Consider an example of a company having 500 employees, and each of them using a computer of 8 GB RAM, with a dual-core processor of 2.4 GHz, and 256 GB hard drive. Now, not each and every employee requires this much computing power. Like a content writer would not require as much processing as a Java developer. And supposedly, for an emergency big scale project, the company needs 200 new and temporary developers for 6 months. So, it will have to invest in additional computers which will be free within 6 months.

Here, the company can use the Cloud Application service as a sigh of relief. Thus, each employee will use only the required amount of computing power from the server. New employees can plug into the server for 6 months and use as much of the service required. The company will have to pay ONLY for the service used. This is the power of the Cloud.

Today, industries and companies are turning to be 100% cloud-based by developing a cloud app, instead of developing a native mobile app and website separately. According to International Data Corporation, companies spending on Cloud Application Service are going to hike 6 times in accordance with the current IT trends. The Cloud Market has seen a growth of 21% in the last year and is expecting to see a rise of 17% in 2019. By 2020, more than 60% of IT infrastructure, technologies, software, and services will be Cloud Based. Businesses today are getting highly influenced by cloud application service as it is incorporating with new technologies like (IOT) Internet of Things, DevOps, BigData etc.

Easy definition: Cloud Application Service

Just another IT service like database management or network security, Cloud Application Service is like renting an external resource of computing which can be accessed online through the internet. There is no need for maintaining a large infrastructure when all you need is computers.

This is the same as not owning a farm for vegetable production, rather just buying the vegetables required at regular interval from the vegetable market.

The physical storage network and the environment are owned by companies providing cloud application service. Cloud application service benefits the users by providing easy and scalable access to data, resources, and applications hosted on the cloud. It is an on-demand service so can be molded according to the user’s need. Depending on the intention and purpose, there are predefined types of cloud application service.

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Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Redefining The Meaning Of Computers

Consider your personal computer on the cloud. Not literally, but think of a virtual computer providing the infrastructure for network storage; hence known as Infrastructure as a Service.
The rest has to be managed by the cloud user.

On such a cloud-hosted service, any number of physical machines can operate separately. This means the entire system is partially available which can be operated on the user end system as per customary needs.

Think of a Scenario→ There is a passionate dance enthusiast and he wants to portray his talent to the world. Now, it is not very easy if he starts all by himself.

All the steps included in this will be:
To organize a dance show
Manage the event
Sell tickets
and Perform.

Now let us understand this simple example by cloud computing reference.

In his pursuit of becoming famous, what if he gets a Sponsorer? The sponsorer will invest and organize his dance show. The dancer thus, need not worry about the expenditure. The dancer, however, will only have to manage his dance show, choreograph his steps and perform. This means that the Sponsor provides an infrastructure to the dancer.

The Role of Stakeholders in Infrastructure as a Service

Let’s understand the functioning of this cloud application service. How each stakeholder works with its role.

Cloud Providers

It is the IaaS service providers role to take care of the security, functionality, integration, interoperability, and usability. They maintain the data and the equipment essential for the maintenance. So ideally, they manage networking, storage, servers, and virtualization.

Client/ Company

The clientele of the IaaS has the full command on the infrastructure of the model. They pay a fee for a duration to avail the infrastructure service for as long as they want the service. However, the client companies need to install their own Operating systems, maintain the middleware, take care of the runtime, data and the applications built by them. So, they need to hire IT staff and maintain resources/tools for development.

Software Developers

The developers of the IaaS platform will have access to the data controls and will be provided with resources (tools for development) by the cloud that will be helpful in the development of applications. Their role is to develop and deploy on their platform by integrating the resources themselves. It is like buying all the ingredients for making a cake and then baking it yourself in the oven.

The areas in which Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is suitable


The biggest advantage of this Cloud Application Service model is its pricing. The client only pays for the service that is actually used. Keeping this core advantage, these are the other example scenarios where Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)  can be used.


Today, systems are in dire need of storing, managing and analyzing big data in the way they do to structured data. IaaS can handle large workloads and can integrate with business intelligence. Thus IaaS can be best used by the companies that need to deal with huge data.

Add-on services

IaaS can be used to implement other services on its infrastructure apart from routine computing. Services such as disaster recovery as a service, function as a service, analytics as a service etc.

Testing and development

IaaS is highly secure to run critical business projects. Testing and development cycles can be run on IaaS systems as they provide excellent computing and networking facilities.

Disaster recovery

Organizations can rely on the IaaS for its disaster recovery on the virtual platform as it is robust and scalable. Businesses can get laid back and relaxed.

Networking services

IaaS also provides networking-as-a-service as many companies are growing complex requiring short term big data projects, freeing up IT staff or to support ongoing initiatives.

The names of IaaS Service Providers that you must know


The most popular cloud application service provider providing Infrastructure as a Service IaaS is the Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) providing hybrid IT architecture, rich controls and auditing, BigData support, backup and storage, disaster recovery and comprehensive security capabilities. It comes in two pricing models, one is the service pricing which goes pay per use above 120 cloud services, and another free tier.

Other IaaS cloud application service providers are IBM SmartCloud, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace Open Cloud.

The Potential of Growth for the Infrastructure as a Service


The Infrastructure as a Service market is growing because of the increasing demand for fast implementation, hybrid computing, accessibility of IT system and scalability. Mostly, IT & telecom, BSFI, healthcare, retail, and e-commerce are adopting IaaS as they require maximum usage of IT resources. The global Infrastructure as a Service market is expecting to reach ~59 billion USD by 2023.

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Platform as a Service (PaaS) Redefining The Role Of Developers

A cloud application service model which provides a platform for development through the cloud (internet access) is known as the Platform as a Service (PaaS). It provides self-service portals for the developers for managing computing software from their centralized IT operations.

Platform as a Service can be thought of as a layer above the IaaS. After providing the network and storage infrastructure, it also provides the tools for development, building programs for the developers.

If we consider the dancer’s example, PaaS will be like providing a Sponsor as well as an Event Manager for that dancer. So now, he will only have to concentrate on his dance. He will have to choreograph his dance and perform on a pre-developed event stage by the event manager.

The Role of Stakeholders in Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Let us see the role of each stakeholder in the functioning of this cloud application service model.

Cloud Providers

The PaaS providers host the hardware and the software required to build the application on the cloud (internet). The PaaS infrastructure consists of networking, storage, servers, virtualization, Operating System, middleware, and runtime. So along with the infrastructure, PaaS also builds the environment where development can be executed.

Software Developers

The software developers just need to create/develop and run their programs on the cloud interface without having to install the software or maintaining it. They can even launch any number of applications online.

Client Company

The client company, however, has to employ and train its IT staff to learn the development methods online for using a custom platform for a specific development.

The areas in which Platform as a Service (PaaS) is suitable


Internet of Things (IoT)

Future of IoT and PaaS is providing several tools, programming languages, and environments to support the development of this streaming technology over the cloud.

API development and management

New APIs can be built over PaaS along with new interfaces for existing APIs. Companies can use this cloud application service model for upgradation of their APIs and other services.

Business Process Management (BPM)

Data management, process management, business rules, and service level agreements all can be incorporated by BPM for an IT company. And the BPM service is provided by the PaaS cloud application service provider.

Creating Virtual Work Place

Flexible workplace, Work from home and Virtual Office are some of the latest buzz words used by the corporates to drive and retain the talented millennials, the PaaS and SaaS cloud application services play a major role in the making this virtual workplace concept reality.

Master Data Management (MDM)

All the business-critical data can be managed from a single reference point by the entrepreneur through the MDM provided by PaaS application service provider Examples of data can be customer data, policies, standards, governance, and decision- making-analysis.


Software developers can add communication features of voice, video, and messaging in their applications over the platform of PaaS.

Business Intelligence

PaaS cloud application service providers offer analysis tools to the enterprises for business data analysis essential for decision making.

The names of PaaS Service Providers that you must know


Customer Relations Management software Salesforce Development is the proof of power depicting Platform as a Service cloud architecture model.

Another good example of PaaS provider is the AWS Elastic Beanstalk for development of Java, .NET, PHP, Python etc programming language applications.

Yet another PaaS provider is the giant- Google App Engine which not only provides a platform for development but also allows integration of Hadoop, MongoDB, and other upcoming technology trends.

The Potential of growth in Platform as a Service (PaaS)


Platform as a Service allows the developers to built at a forging innovative speed. Also, the developers are not restricted; rather they are free to choose their development tools and methods.

PaaS has a better scope as compared to the other two models because of its pricing. It offers a Pay-as-you-go payment charge for its services. Thus, services are charged indeed as per their usage. It is expected to grow double of the growth in 2017 this year and 56% growth in 2020, as compared to that in 2017.

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Software as a Service (SaaS) Redefining The End-User Experience

The Software as a Service (SaaS) comes as a wholesome computing package hosted on the cloud (internet) where the user can access the application interface mostly through a web browser. As this service is delivered online, there is no need for installation or implementations of external applications.

Explaining it with the dancer’s example, we now provide him with a Sponsorer, Event Manager as well as a Choreographer. Now, all that the dancer needs to do is- Dance. This will be like a piece of cake for him.

This is an example of SaaS, where event audience can be thought of as the end user and the event management company can be thought of as the cloud application service provider. In return of paying a ticket fee (which can be thought of as the cloud subscription fee), the audience gets entertainment.

The Role of Stakeholders in Software as a Service

Let us see how this cloud architecture model functions and what is the role of each of the participants.

Cloud Providers

The SaaS providers manage everything ranging from networking, storage, servers, virtualization, OSes, middleware, runtime, and data. The companies providing SaaS cloud architecture need to secure large data storage and the platform for development. They are obliged to be responsible for the security of the client’s data stored on the cloud.

Software Developers

The developers of the SaaS platform need to build an architecture which will be like an interface between the user and the cloud operations. There won’t be need of any installations or downloads. Everything will be accessed online.

End Users

Nothing much will be required by the end users but to enjoy their demanded service without bothering about installation or updatation. In return, they pay for their subscribed service.

The upside of using SaaS over Traditional Application


Cost reduction

Companies who usually spend a lot on software and their installation/ maintenance can be benefited by cloud computing (SaaS) which will be saving the cost expenditure while increasing multi-tenant usage.

Easy Updates/Upgradation

With SaaS, it becomes easy to get quick updates in the application/data, without any installation or re-installation. For a system upgradation even, everything is done online on the cloud, so upgrading for the individual user becomes very easy.

Time Benefit

For software installation and configuration is already done in SaaS, one update by the user on the server, makes it available for all its other users in very little time. So we cut short the time wastage here.

Elementary test functionality

SaaS can offer different versions of the same software online, making it easy for the testers and analysts to test before all user implementation or even before buying.

Integration & Scalability

SaaS users do not additionally need to invest in expanding features or storage expansion. Cloud computing has this excellent feature of integrating more computing power without buying a new server. And paying for as much of the service that is used indeed.

The names of Popular Software as a Service that you must know


An instance of SaaS is the Microsoft Office 365 which enables collaboration of office suite with colleagues and customers of a wide range.

How can we forget Google Apps, which is a comprehensive SaaS for productivity tools for n number of users? Other examples of SaaS are Dropbox and Cisco WebEx.

The potential of growth for Software as a Service (SaaS)


According to a report, the SaaS market will grow by 18% CAGR by 2020. Experts believe that soon will come a time when SaaS will be so pervasive that all companies will be on the cloud. SaaS is the most used and preferred cloud service amongst all.

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Cloud Native App vs Traditional App Architecture

The Cloud Native is an approach of building and developing applications that take advantage of the above-explained Cloud Computing delivery modules/services.

The Cloud Native application development makes use of all the modern technologies to build discrete, reusable, and loosely-coupled code which is extrinsic to the infrastructure. By this way, the application will be able to scale up and down on-demand.

This approach thus requires a different architecture than the traditional enterprise applications’ architecture. Let us understand the differences

Programming Languages

The traditional on-premise apps are written in traditional languages like C, C++, or C#. The ones for windows server platform are written in Visual Studio and Java, while those for mainframe in Cobol.

However, the Cloud Native Apps are written in web-centric languages like HTML, CSS, Java, Javascript, .NET, Node.js, Python, PHP, and Ruby.



The on-premise apps need updates whenever a new feature is availed or data backed-up. Meanwhile, the system is down and the update is installing.

This is over-ruled by the Cloud-Native apps as they are always updated and available. They don’t ask for any downtime.


A traditional app cannot be scaled in times when there is a sudden spike of computing or demand for resources.

This backdrop can be bridged by the use of the Cloud app. When there’s a spike in usage, the cloud app shall automatically scale to match the demand and when the surge is quiet, it will automatically fetch back the resources.


Most of the traditional apps don’t work well in a virtual environment. They are not reliable for resource sharing. Whereas, a cloud app is specially made for resource sharing and virtualization.

Resource connection

As most of the on-premise apps are connected hard-coded to the networks, storages, and permissions, they break if anything is moved or changed. In the case of Cloud-Native apps, the infrastructure accommodates the changes. This makes connections to the network, database, and storages effortless.


When a server is down, there are high chances that the traditional on-premise app will crash, as it is intricately bound with the server architecture. And it takes time while it is re-built.

However, this downtime is skipped in the cloud-native application architecture as in the times of server failure, another server patch is ready to take the possession and keep the flow ongoing.


Cloud apps are automated and hence proved to be speedy and reliable. There is no need of app management. The traditional demand for manual app management.


The traditional apps are build as one whole compound code with many subroutines leading to the goal. This is not the case with cloud-native apps. They are built function by function separately in the form of microservices. Hence they can be shut-off when not in use.


The on-premise apps store the state of the application on the infrastructure which crushes the functioning in erroneous conditions. Whereas the cloud-native app is stateless, saving the state of the app on the database or some other entity that doesn’t hinder the functioning in case of server crash.

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More About Author

Vishal Nakum

Vishal Nakum is a tech enthusiast with a passion for exploring the latest developments in the world of technology. He has a keen interest in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, and enjoys keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in these fields. Vishal is an avid learner and is always on the lookout for new ways to expand his knowledge and skills. He is also a creative thinker and enjoys experimenting with new ideas and concepts. In his free time, Vishal enjoys playing video games and reading books on technology and science.