IaaS vs. PaaS—What is the Difference?

It’s undeniable that cloud computing has changed the way that businesses go to market. With the cloud, organizations are now able to gain new efficiencies, quickly deploy IT services, and transform their operations. Everything from human resources, financial reporting, supply chains, to simple mobile applications have benefited from cloud deployments.

Along with considerations on the proper deployment model like public, hybrid, or private, organizations also face a decision around service models. The three common cloud computing models each have unique features and help solve specific business needs in particular ways. Organizations, including those in the public sector, are commonly deploying numerous clouds and using various service models.

It’s critical to note that no matter which service model you deploy, it is likely you will also want to leverage both public cloud and hybrid clouds for your cloud computing architecture. Having a provider like Oracle, that supports public, private, or hybrid cloud options, providing the same tools and technology across all cloud offerings, is critical. With the cloud, you can deliver access to applications anywhere, anytime, across any device, helping deliver new efficiency and productivity benefits at your organization. When thinking about the right service model agencies should start by asking the question: Where do I get the best return overall for my business?

The lines have blurred between IaaS and PaaS, as the major cloud providers offer both from the same environment. IaaS can help organizations find efficiencies with hardware and facilities costs, but PaaS can further reduce administrative overhead and expand usage to less technical customers. Once a problem is defined that an organization can address with a cloud computing solution, businesses can move towards crafting the right kind of cloud offering, requiring an understanding of Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, which we explore in this report.

Infrastructure-as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS provides the ability to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources on-demand through a console or APIs. Customers are then able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud physical infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, networking, and deployed applications.

Deciphering Infrastructure as a Service

With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), organizations can take advantage of a cloud provider’s economies of scale to find cost savings in their compute and storage layers, as well as gain the ability to quickly scale up and down capabilities to achieve the mission at hand. With IaaS, agencies can access increased computing resources instantly, without making expensive hardware investments. For most clients, IaaS is typically looked at to address two business problems:

  • The first one is the capital expenditure issue and budgeting. If you don’t have the capital expenditure to lay out right away, but you’ve got a requirement for computing infrastructure, this allows you to use operational funds to get that program going and start serving constituents’ needs without having to wait for the budget cycle.
  • The second problem that IaaS solves for an organization is managing infrastructure. Patching, upgrading, and otherwise maintaining IT infrastructure is time-consuming work that can be offloaded to the cloud provider. IT departments would rather turn management over to someone else and focus more of their limited IT resources on things that are going to help the agency.

With IaaS, organizations can expect to gain many benefits. IaaS is really more on the IT side of the house, replacing some of the core compute, storage, and backup recovery functions:

  • Scalable solutions to meet compute and storage capability on demand
  • Controlling cost through utilization-based pricing
  • Optimization resource deployment utilization through automation
  • Limited or no upfront hardware expenditure or investment

IaaS is helping businesses to quickly get access to new cloud computing solutions and cloud storage needs. But IaaS is not the only cloud service model, and should be part of a larger cloud strategy. That’s why businesses should look to PaaS, which offers additional benefits in a complete cloud solution.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS provides customers with the ability to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure customer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly application hosting environment configurations.

Understanding Platform as a Service

With PaaS, businesses place more responsibility on the cloud provider to manage and optimize the cloud environment, which can reduce IT administration overhead. PaaS is an essential development for all organizations, as it is an efficient way to leverage the application and data management layers to host applications, including SaaS, business analytics and mobile applications. PaaS helps organizations gain:

  • Greater IT staff and resource efficiency because the cloud service does more of the infrastructure management, protection, and optimization
  • Better security because the cloud service automatically applies patches and updates, optionally without human intervention
  • Better overall performance because the cloud service automatically scales the environment for peaks and valleys of demand
  • Better resiliency and business continuity because the cloud service will automatically deploy high availability and fault tolerant infrastructure

A lot of customers ask, does PaaS mean I don’t need IT operations, cloud architects, or database administrators (DBAs) anymore? The answer is quite simply, you’re still going to need them, but those roles are now going to be concentrating on adding value to the applications within your organization. They’re not going to be just doing the simpler stuff like setting up HA environments, patching the database or backing it up. That’s what the cloud service provider is going to manage.

There are many benefits to leveraging PaaS, but one of the major ones is a significant reduction in IT administration. PaaS solutions can provide not only savings in hardware and facilities costs, but more significantly, address more of the implementation and management costs that can make up the majority of IT program expenses. The savings in PaaS often come from consolidating resources, and reducing—or in many cases, eliminating—redundant work done by employees. PaaS also offers customers the ability to rapidly host, test and produce applications. When a developer wants to test an application, cloud platform solutions can instantly deliver a complete application environment ready for whatever is needed. And if there is high demand for an application, those same platforms can scale efficiently to meet user demands.

Rapidly leveraging mobile environments, creating new workflows to streamline organization-wide work, creating new HPC environments, to discovering valuable new insights with data lakes and data science are all possible with PaaS solutions. PaaS gives an organization an opportunity to deploy complex IT solutions either rapidly, in a standardized fashion.

Cloud computing—why Oracle Cloud?

Oracle is one of the market leaders in delivering high performance, secure, and highly automated cloud solutions with superior economics. We offer a comprehensive set of public cloud and hybrid cloud offerings. As many organizations explore different ways to connect their various cloud offerings, and are looking at assuring cloud interoperability, having a single cloud provider with a comprehensive set of IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS offerings can remove many headaches for IT managers worried about interoperability. Additionally, being able to use familiar and open tools for managing IT systems for cloud computing offerings eases the burden to transitioning to the cloud and lowers long-term costs. Oracle provides these tools and services for a complete cloud solution for all clients.