Top 4 Cloud Computing Models Explained

Whether you are a business owner looking to shift your current on-premise infrastructure to the cloud, or a student who wants to start learning cloud computing, the first step is knowing about cloud computing models. The three models that you will come across are – IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. These models have many distinct features. You can avail of these cloud services over the Internet easily.

Cloud Computing Models

1. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS is one of the most important cloud computing models that provides you with networking hardware over the Internet. These resources are provided to you through virtualization. This means that you can log in to an IaaS platform to use virtual machines (VM) to install an OS or software and run databases. This VM can work as a virtual data center.

The third-party cloud vendor hosts the software, hardware, servers, and required storage infrastructure. You just have to pay for their services to use them. IaaS assists users to perform tasks, such as system maintenance, resiliency planning, and system backups. In companies, IaaS enables the automation and virtualization of administrative tasks, which frees up time and resources for other tasks.

Examples of IaaS include AWS (Amazon Web Services), DigitalOcean, and Microsoft Azure.

Benefits of using IaaS

  • It has a pay-as-you-go model that lets you pay only for the services you use. You can buy more resources later on if required.
  • As all your data resides on the cloud, there is no single failure point. If a data center goes down or a server crashes, the infrastructure remains unaffected.
  • The infrastructure is scalable as per the storage and processing requirements.
  • Using IaaS, multiple users or employees can work on a project remotely. This reduces workload and speeds up project completion.
  • Saves business costs of purchasing and maintenance of hardware.

2. PaaS (Platform as a Service)

PaaS is the middle layer of the cloud computing stack. As the name suggests, it offers you a platform for creating and running cloud applications. It is mostly preferred by developers as PaaS vendors host the hardware and software required for application development, on their architecture. So, developers do not have to install any software and/or worry about the hardware.

This lets application developers focus more on their app, and keep their mind off the technicalities. This, in turn, leads to better software development and even faster deployment. Moreover, PaaS allows you to develop, test, run, and update applications on the cloud. You also get pre-built tools and APIs to customize your applications.

Examples of PaaS include Google App Engine, Heroku, and Apache Stratos.

Benefits of using PaaS

  • It is cost-effective as you pay only for the services you choose.
  • The built-in features for data protection and cybersecurity reduce the need for security professionals in an organization.
  • Applications compatible on multiple platforms can be developed through PaaS. This expands your customer reach and helps in business expansion.
  • Dynamic scaling allows companies using PaaS to scale up or down as per requirements.  
  • As the hardware and software are handled by the vendor, the need for additional staff or outsourcing tasks is significantly reduced

3. SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS is the bottom level of the cloud stack that offers you a cloud-based software for a monthly or yearly fee. After payment, the cloud vendor provides you access to the software over the Internet. This is a software solution that you can use from your browser. No additional software needs to be installed. You can enjoy the service using their user interfaces without much upfront cost.

Popular SaaS products include DropBox and Salesforce. These are great options for those who want a complete cloud software solution without paying much. Small and medium businesses that have just started and do not have enough funds to spend on their IT infrastructure can use SaaS. The SaaS providers also offer good customer support if you run into any troubles.

In SaaS, all the software infrastructure, middleware, and application data are stored in the provider’s data center. Using a service agreement, the vendor ensures the security of your app data. The best part about SaaS is that you do not necessarily have to be a tech wiz to use it.

Benefits of using SaaS

  • You can access the SaaS software using a web browser, such as Google Chrome from a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • It is easy to use, flexible, and can be scaled up or down. The pay-as-you-go model helps you save costs.
  • New releases and upgrades are provided to users as soon as it is available. The upgrading costs are minimal.

Learn more: Top 7 Cloud Computing Applications in Real World

4. Cloud Computing Deployment Models

There are three cloud computing models used for deployment:

Public cloud

Owned by a third-party vendor, these cloud services are free to use and openly provided to the public. Due to open-ended access, security is not great. It might be risky using this cloud service as anyone can access it, which makes it vulnerable to hacking.

Private cloud

These cloud computing resources are deployed for a particular organization. It can be located at the company’s on-site datacenter or the vendor’s datacenter. The architecture is maintained over a private network and is dedicated solely to the organization.

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public clouds. This provides better flexibility and deployment options to an organization.

Also Read: 6 Interesting Cloud Computing Project Ideas & Topics For Beginners


Cloud computing models have become an indispensable part of any company today. As per the size of a business, technical requirements, and budget, companies can choose the service they want. Cloud computing has helped save costs and enhance business operations for many organizations all over the world.  

At upGrad, we offer the PG Diploma in Software Development Specialisation in Cloud Computing program. It lasts only for 13 months and is completely online so you can complete it without interrupting your job.

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