Examining Azure IaaS vs. PaaS in Cloud Computing

In today’s fast-paced business world, companies depend on technology to stay competitive. Cloud computing is one of the best ways to stay on top of technology while reducing expenses. Yet, you have more than one option when it comes to the cloud – two of which are Azure IaaS vs. PaaS.

In this article, we look at these two leading cloud computing services. We’ll discuss the biggest differences between infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). By examining the benefits, use cases, and limitations of each service, you can make a more informed decision on which is best for your business.

IaaS Vs. PaaS: What’s the Difference? (With Examples)

Before we jump into the benefits and limitations of each model, let’s begin by understanding the key differences between IaaS and PaaS.

What Is Azure IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service is a cloud-based solution that enables you to rent infrastructure from a cloud provider.

Infrastructure components include an operating system (OS), servers and storage, networking, security, and compute through virtual machines (VMs). IaaS is the most barebones cloud service model.

Examples of Who Can Benefit From IaaS

  • An e-commerce business that requires complete control over its infrastructure to ensure security and compliance.
  • A software development company that needs to run legacy applications that cannot be migrated to a PaaS environment.
  • A healthcare organization that wants to ensure data privacy and security by managing and maintaining its own infrastructure.

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Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In addition to all the underlying infrastructure associated with IaaS, PaaS offers a complete development and deployment environment for web applications.

With PaaS, you get access to sophisticated dev tools, libraries, middleware, container orchestrators, and business analytics (BI).

Examples of Who Can Benefit From PaaS

  • A startup that wants to focus on app development and deployment without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
  • A business that needs to rapidly deploy new apps to the market without spending time on infrastructure setup.
  • An organization looking to cut costs by outsourcing infrastructure management to a cloud provider.

Keep in mind that both IaaS and PaaS are distinct from another common cloud computing service model, software as a service (SaaS).

What Is Azure IaaS and Azure PaaS?

Now that we have a basic understanding of IaaS and PaaS, let’s see how each of these cloud computing services can be leveraged through Microsoft Azure.

Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Azure IaaS is ideal for businesses that need essential storage, networking, and compute resources. Plus, migrations are fast and affordable since you don’t need to refactor your architecture.

With Azure’s cloud service IaaS, your back-end lives in the Microsoft Azure infrastructure. The pay-as-you-go model also means a massive reduction in hardware and overhead expenses associated with on-prem data centers, and a sharp increase in on-demand scalability.

Because you’ll still be responsible for managing individual components of your IT ecosystem, a strong engineering team is recommended. Consider IaaS in Azure for business scenarios like:

  • Lift-and-shift migration
  • Testing and development
  • Storage, backup, and recovery
  • Web applications
  • High-performance computing


Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS)

If you need to manage, develop, and deploy more cloud-based applications than you can track, Azure PaaS may be the right choice for you.

Unlike IaaS Azure, PaaS services in Azure support end-to-end app development at every stage in the life cycle. This means you can build, test, deploy, manage, and update—all within Azure cloud. The result? Improved dev capabilities with reduced coding times.

Common business scenarios for PaaS include:

  • Development framework for enterprise apps
  • Analytics and business intelligence (BI)
  • Other app-optimization services like directory and workflow, scheduling and security.

Benefits of Azure IaaS vs. PaaS

Now that we have a basic understanding of Azure IaaS vs. PaaS, let’s see how each can benefit your business.

IaaS Benefits

IaaS is best for businesses that require complete control over their IT infrastructure. For example, if your business runs legacy or custom apps, you may need specific configurations and environments. IaaS offers that flexibility. Other benefits include:

  • Scalability
    IaaS solutions provide the flexibility to scale up or down as your business needs evolve. Easily add or remove virtual machine types (Windows or Linux-based), as well as storage and networking components, to accommodate growth in real-time.
  • Security
    In an age of rampant cybercrime, a strong security posture is a must. Luckily, IaaS is known for having cutting-edge security features—especially in the hands of a reliable provider like Microsoft Azure. Common features include network isolation, firewalls, encryption, and more.
  • Control
    IaaS puts you in the driver’s seat. This model gives you the freedom to customize your IT environment at a granular level. With the right expertise, this is an effective way to meet your unique business needs.
  • Cost-Savings
    Arguably one of the leading advantages, IaaS solutions help businesses save on hardware, maintenance, and software licensing. This is because cloud providers like Azure are responsible for managing the infrastructure, drastically reducing the need for in-house IT staff and hardware.
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
    Whether it’s an isolated outage or a full-blown blackout, minimizing downtime is essential. IaaS offers robust disaster recovery options to protect your mission-critical apps and data. This is achieved by replicating data across multiple data centers, ensuring high availability through redundancy.

PaaS Benefits

As we’ve seen, PaaS is best suited to businesses that want to focus on app development and deployment. This model empowers devs to build apps without fussing over underlying infrastructure.

In addition to the IaaS benefits mentioned above, PaaS also boasts a few other advantages, like:

  • Developer Productivity
    PaaS provides devs with a complete development and deployment environment. This means tools, libraries, and middleware. Azure PaaS also supports a wide range of programming languages and development frameworks, including .NET, Java, Node.js, Python, and others.
  • Rapid Deployment
    PaaS provides a quick and easy way to deploy applications, reducing time-to-market (TTM).
  • Robust Services
    Azure PaaS equips organizations with a wide array of additional services, such as operating systems, databases, messaging, and authentication—all of which can be easily integrated into your apps.

Azure Infrastructure as a Service

Limitations of Azure IaaS vs. PaaS

As we’ve seen, both IaaS and PaaS are great options for businesses. Before deciding which one is right for you, it’s important to also consider their potential limitations.

IaaS Limitations

  • Management and Maintenance
    IaaS requires businesses to manage and maintain their own IT infrastructure. This is both time-consuming and requires a team with specialized skills and expertise.
  • Resource Management
    Whether it’s VMs, storage, or networking components, your business needs to be extra conscientious when managing resources in IaaS. In other words, you’re responsible to ensure optimal usage and avoid overspending.

PaaS Limitations

  • Limited Customization
    PaaS environments offer limited customization options, which may not be suitable for businesses that want to maintain complete control over their IT ecosystem.
  • Compatibility
    PaaS may not be compatible with certain legacy or custom apps.
  • Vendor Lock-In
    Businesses may be locked into a particular PaaS provider, making it difficult to switch providers if needed.

Optimize Your PaaS and IaaS in Azure With Atmosera

Both IaaS and PaaS offer enormous benefits to organizations. IaaS grants you complete control over your IT infrastructure, while PaaS boasts a sophisticated development and deployment environment. Before deciding which cloud service is right for you, however, take the time to carefully evaluate the advantages and limitations of each.

Need advice? At Atmosera, we’ve been helping businesses with their IT needs for nearly three decades. As a leading Azure MSP, we’ll find the perfect cloud solution to fit your needs. We also provide ongoing support and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and efficiency—always.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Contact us today.

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