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How do you like your pizza: on-premise or as a Service?

The purpose of this blog is to discuss four types of cloud services. The difference between different types of cloud services is explained with non-technical examples so that you can understand what a cloud service is and what it does.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence – over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for the cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.

Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories:

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS);
  • Platform as a service (PaaS);
  • Serverless;
  • Software as a service (SaaS).

These are sometimes called the cloud computing “stack” because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals. However, it is fine to have a first glance at on-premise infrastructure.

On-premise infrastructure

In the short term, deploying your organizations on-premises infrastructure means that you’ll have to invest a large amount of capital upfront on hardware, the installation itself, software licensing fees, data backup, extra IT services, support, and more. Once it’s ready to go, you’ll need to invest in internal or external IT staff for ongoing support, maintenance, and security, as well as cover energy costs, hosting costs, and the extra square footage needed in your office space. We can’t forget ongoing hardware, software, and licensing updates and purchases.


IaaS lets you bypass the costs and complexity of buying and managing physical servers and data center infrastructure. Each resource is offered as a separate service component, and you only pay for a particular resource for as long as you need it.


PaaS allows you to avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing software licenses, the underlying application infrastructure, middleware, container orchestrators such as Kubernetes, or the development tools and other resources. You manage the applications and services you develop, and the cloud service provider typically manages everything else.


Serverless computing enables developers to build applications faster by eliminating the need for them to manage infrastructure. With serverless applications, the cloud service provider automatically provisions, scales, and manages the infrastructure required to run the code.


SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider. You rent the use of an app for your organization, and your users connect to it over the Internet, usually with a web browser (such as Microsoft Office 365).

What is managed by whom?

You manage everything when you are on-premise, and you are not managing anything when you are in SaaS.

Pizza, pizza, pizza..

In order to simplify the concept, we want to explain the difference between these four types with a non-technical example. Suppose you wish to eat pizza with your friend and you have the option of cooking it yourself or ordering it from a restaurant. A homemade pizza is like an on-premises approach since you use your own hardware (gas, oven, heat) and buy beers and ingredients.

It is also possible to use the communal kitchen without providing an oven or heat (IaaS). There are other options, such as take-out pizza that you don’t need to worry about infrastructure (PaaS) or even better attending a party! There is no responsibility for anything other than making conversations and enjoying the party (SaaS).

Take a look at the following image to gain a better understanding.

Hopefully, this non-technical example will clarify the different types of cloud computing for you.

About Devoteam

At Devoteam in the Netherlands, we promote technologies to have a positive impact on people and the world around us. With more than 20 years of experience in Cloud, Integration, Data, and DevOps in both local and international markets, and with more than 2000 satisfied clients we guide organizations to digital competitive advantage.