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difference in iaas paas & saas

Explain me like I’m five- IaaS, PaaS & SaaS Simplified

One fine day I was sitting with my younger brother writing article on Cloud computing & its models.

Out of a sudden the kid asked me “what is this IaaS, PaaS, SaaS all about?

Three different models of Cloud Computing, I replied.

What is Cloud then?  He asked curiously.

I answered, “Instead of using your own hardware and software for compute as a utility, you could access shared pool of resources(compute, storage, network) per your requirement over the internet in a seamless way.”

Advantages & disadvantages of Cloud computing

But at the same time, I realized I was trying to deliver a complicated explanation to such a non-tech kid. my mind began to come up with a simple explanation that could relate him to daily life. Below is the simplified explanation I could come up with.

Few decades ago, when farmers used to grow wheat and store them in their premises. They used to store it and later they had to take the wheat to the flour meal to get flour out of wheat so that one could get rotis (breads). Relate this as the traditional hosting model. You create your own infrastructure, platform in a small premises and then use it for computing purpose. You have to manage each step yourself. More (Difference b/w Traditional hosting vs Cloud hosting)

Things developed and we adopted cloud model with three basic models. IaaS, PaaS & SaaS.

difference in iaas paas & saas
Credit: Internet

Now imagine you, instead of growing grains yourself, started buying flour packets of certain brand and size. Now you don’t need to care about the farming process. You can chose the quality of flour and size by paying accordingly to the vendor (who has the headache to generate the wheat and get it floured by flour mill).  Relate this as Infrastructure as a service or IaaS. Vendors are Mircosoft, Amazon, Openstack, Rackspace etc. Read More at IaaS-Infrastructure as a service

Now there is another option for you is to buy ready made rotis/breads. It is more convenient for you to buy it and simple heat it. Now you lost control over the flour quality and you don’t have to worry about that anymore. You just pick the best brand that makes the best bread. You buy breads your need and pay it accordingly. Related this as platform as a service or PaaS where you have to select a PaaS vendor that suits your requirement and host your applications or scripts. Some of them are Google App hosting, Microsoft Azure or Heroku. Read more about PaaS or Platform as a service

But there is another option available for you every time.You can visit a good restaurant, order breads and eat it anytime without worrying about the quality of flour or the brand of the bread. You just eat the bread and pay the money. SaaS or software as a service is somewhat a similar model where you don’t do anything related to the technical work. You go to a vendor that has already built software and hosted on some platform, you pay the money(monthly/yearly) and use the software. Read more about SaaS or Software as a service

You only have to chose the service, like you want Paneer or rice or bread as a service. It’s the vendor’s job to find suitable ingredients and cook the service for you.  Suppose you want database a a service, the vendor chooses an infrastructure and platform to host the database with appropriate environment. You only pay the charges and use the service. Some popular SaaS examples are Microsoft 365, Google Docs, WHMCS billing app,  Gmail etc.

Difference between cloud hosting & traditional hosting

 And that’s how I explained IaaS, PaaS & SaaS to the kid. I hope it was clear enough for you too. In case I’m wrong, feel free to write which part you didn’t understand. I will be more than happy if you could write a better explanation on the same topic.



cPanel Level 1 Certified from cPanel University. Linux System Admin.

9 thoughts to “Explain me like I’m five- IaaS, PaaS & SaaS Simplified”

  1. I wish to know more about the pizza model of IaaS, PaaS & SaaS explanation. Also please mention how these models work in daily life.

    How google app is a PaaS but Google docs is a SaaS. Bit explanation please.

    1. Yes John.
      Although I have mentioned both server and Storage as a part of IaaS but both mean the same thing. Storage relates to the server which is for both, files & databases.


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