There are various types of Cloud offerings that exist in the internet today. These offerings are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Figure 1 below shows each of these offerings and what they host. Understanding what each offering hosts, the relationship of the cloud vendor to the software owner, and the relationship of the cloud vendor to the end user is a good way to understand the differences between each of these offerings.
Figure 1 – Types of Cloud Offerings and what they host
Figure 2 – IaaS Vendors
Figure 3 – PaaS Vendors
Figure 4 – SaaS Vendors
When the word “Platform” is used in the context of software what is really meant is what is shown in Figure 5. The best way to visualize a software platform is to think of it as being composed of two parts. The first part is a runtime environment for your application or your custom code. The second part is a collection of tools that can be purchased (as opposed to built) that solve common problems.
Figure 5 – A Software Platform