On-premise vs Cloud Computing: what’s the difference? (IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS)

  • On-premise vs Cloud Computing: what’s the difference? (IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS)


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    Cloud computing is growing rapidly, especially over these last few months with the rise of remote work. At this rate, it is estimated the total cloud computing market will grow to $354.6 billion dollars by 2022.

    Now is the time to consider switching to the cloud if you have not already. For those businesses already on the cloud, now is the time to take a closer look at your cloud computing options. Keeping up with the times ensures your business is up-to-date with security and performance features, which will benefit your business and employee satisfaction in the long-term.

    In this article, I will go over some key differences between on-premise and cloud computing. Likewise, I will help differentiate between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS to give you a clear look at what cloud computing can offer you.

    On-premise vs Cloud Computing

    On-premise was the way we used to do things, but after the development of the cloud it is easy to see that on-premise should be left in the past. A huge downfall of on-premise is where and how the applications are managed. You must use the same device the application is installed on to use it. Additionally, you are required to manage it on your own, which means ensuring you perform the updates, track your usage, and ensure you are not in violation of your licensing agreements.

    When using on-premise, you must manage:

    • Applications
    • Data
    • Runtime
    • Middleware
    • O/S
    • Virtualization
    • Servers
    • Storage
    • Networking

    That’s a lot of responsibility to fall onto your business! My advice would be to migrate to the cloud and get an automatic way of performing these on-premise, manual tasks.

    IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS: what’s the difference?

    To keep it simple, cloud computing is the hosting, storing, managing, and processing data online (the cloud).

    • SAAS: Software as a service
    • PAAS: Platform as a service
    • IAAS: Infostructure as a service


    SaaS is probably the area you are most familiar with, as it is the most popular form of cloud computing. Arguably, SaaS is the easiest form of cloud computing too, with little to none pressure on managing your own software. Likewise, SaaS is out-of-the-box ready to go! You do not need to install SaaS onto your device, rather your applications can be accessed via cloud. An example of SaaS is Microsoft Office 365, where you can share files via Microsoft Teams and edit in real-time using  the cloud!

    Other key characteristics of SaaS include:

    • Cloud based software
    • Hosted online / delivered online
    • Most commonly used cloud service
    • Does not need to be downloaded or installed
    • Out of the box solutions
    • Offering security, compliance, and maintenance as part of the cost
    • Most modern SaaS platforms are built on IaaS or PaaS platforms


    PaaS is known amongst developers, as it provides a platform for the development of software. An example of PaaS is Google App Engine, where you can build and host applications through Google.

    Key characteristics of PaaS include:

    • For developers to create software
      • Do not need to start from scratch
      • Saves time/ money
    • Platforms for custom built applications
      • Create unique apps without the cost
    • Provides data serving, storage, and management


    IaaS is popular with those who use infostructure to maintain servers, data, etc. An example of IaaS is Microsoft Azure, where you can build, test, and manage applications via Microsoft servers.

    Key characteristics of IaaS include:

    • Servers, network, operating systems, and data storage
      • Virtual servers – do not physically own servers
    • Access and store data on servers via a dashboard or API (application programming interface)
    • Storage and server space to build new software/ hardware
    • Encourages new tech over the cloud
    • On-premise: physically manage data on-site

    Why switch to the cloud?

    Not only do I recommend switching to the cloud, I highly encourage you to do it! On-premise can get a bit tricky and requires a lot of manual effort. Additionally, you get locked into contracts and might end up over-spending on your software. With the cloud, you get more flexibility and assurance with month-to-month payments and the added bonus of a managed service included in the cost.

    The cloud also offers:

    • Reduce the need for on-premise hosting
    • Scalable
    • Cost effective
    • Accessible
    • Any size business
    • Simple set-up

    To learn more on how to switch to the cloud or how to manage your SaaS, please contact me at sales@businesssoftwarecentre.com




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