30 October 2018 Reading time: 6 minutes

What is XaaS? IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS: what’s the difference. Examples

Victoria Fedoseenko

Victoria Fedoseenko

Content editor


A taxi is a car as a service. You pay only when you take a taxi. You don’t need to buy a car, pay for fuel and garage or pump up tires. You don’t even have to drive! Just seat and you'll be on site within the hour.

IT-services can be provided in the same way. A customer doesn’t bear capital expenditures and pays only when he uses a service. For example, a writer opens a text editor in the browser rather than installs it on his computer. A company doesn’t build a data-center; it simply rents computing services from a cloud provider. A program or infrastructure is provided as a service.

This model is usually called XaaS or Anything-as-a-service. It includes all the services in a cloud that customers can order over the Internet. "X" can be changed: IaaS refers to infrastructure as a service, PaaS — a platform for development, SaaS — a software as a service.

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the main models of providing cloud services. Gartner, the world's leading research and advisory company, identifies them as follows:

  1. IaaS — a client gets only infrastructure,
  2. PaaS — a client gets infrastructure and software for application development,
  3. в SaaS — a client gets a ready-to-use application in the cloud.
IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS: what’s the difference, Gartner

IaaS — infrastructure as a service

You need to store data and make it available to other users. Hosting and maintaining server and network equipment, taking care of self-owned infrastructure, employing specialists may take much time and money.

To reduce operating costs, you can order a server (hosting service) or a space in a data-center, or you can rent computing resources: CPU kernels, RAM, etc. This is an IaaS model.

Example. You can find examples of typical IaaS services e.g. at OVH as Public or Private Cloud, or at AWS as cloud computing.

The main difference between IaaS and traditional hosting services is the scalability it offers and the possibility to bill customers only for consumed resources.

You can set up IaaS in BILLmanager using the vCloud Director module.

PaaS — platform as a service

Building your own application requires different third-party software. You need a platform, tools, databases, machine learning libraries, and much more. Moreover, you have to host ready applications somewhere. It’s too expensive and time consuming.

Alternatively, you can utilize an integrated development environment and store your applications on the application hosting that provides different services and tools. It is the provider who takes care of upgrades and other routine performance to keep the system work correctly. Such services are called PaaS.

Example. Cloud development environment Codenvy; Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure or AWS applications; Docker; serverless applications AWS, Oracle databases, etc.

The main benefit of PaaS is that it allows starting applications quickly even for small groups. Moreover, with a cloud service, developers can collect statistics from their app, analyze information, and make best decisions for their business.

VMmanager helps create virtual machines to test software programs and perform other tasks.

SaaS — software as a service

Everyone knows about software programs. We use them to print texts, send emails, create illustrations. They also include applications for corporate needs: CRM, ERP, and other systems.

In the past, users had to buy and install the programs on their local PC. Today, you can simply open it in your favorite browser. This is SaaS.

Example. For end users: Office 365 from Microsoft, Google service.

As opposed to on-premise applications, Saas doesn’t require you to buy a full version and spend much money at once; you don’t need to install the application on your device; you can utilize it from different devices.

New versions of ISPmanager and VMmanager will be provided as SaaS solutions.

Other kinds of XaaS

Database as a service (DBaaS), Storage-as-a-Service), desktop as a service (DaaS), communications as a service (CaaS), monitoring as a service (MaaS) and even malware as a service (MaaS).

Pros and cons of XaaS

XaaS provides numerous advantages to end users and has only one disadvantage: using a cloud service for many year ahead may become more expensive in comparison with a lifetime software program. There are more cons for companies, however they also have many .. advantages.


Switch from to capital expenses to operating expenses
XaaS allows moving from capital expenditures into hardware, because all physical resources belong to a service provider.


Potential downtime of services
XaaS provider is responsible for provisioning and managing the infrastructure resources. Should his servers go down, users won’t be able to use them. Reliable service providers guarantee services through a SLA.

Quickly launch new apps and business processes
A company can quickly access technologies supported by service providers. Scaling up your infrastructure can be done automatically when users need resources.

Performance issues
If several customers use the same pool of resources from the service providers the system may slow down due to lack of resources. Running applications in a virtualized environment can reduce performance in comparison with hardware devices.

Staff can focus on new projects

Staff need to learn new technologies

XaaS, like a taxi, is not for everyone. Some people don’t believe drivers, others do not want to overpay, and someone simply likes to drive himself. Experts recommend that a company store crucial processes locally and locate only non-critical functions in clouds.

Try the VMmanager virtualization platform

With VMmanager, you can configure PaaS:

  • Provide KVM-based virtual servers;
  • Deploy fast and lightweight LXD containers;
  • Offer users additional services: virtual machine backups, resource monitoring;
  • Automate routine operations;

IaaS support will be released in VMmanager in Q1 2021.