Data Platform As A Service - What Is The Difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Data Platform As A Service - What Is The Difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

The software development industry has undergone a massive transformation for the past decade. Moving beyond conventional on-premise server infrastructure, app developers are equipped with a better way to build, deploy and manage cloud applications. This substantial progress is made possible, thanks to the emergence of the Data Platform as a Service (DPaaS).

What Is Data Platform As A Service 

Data Platform as a Service or a DPaaS refers to a unified approach that allows companies to ingest, manage, monitor, analyze and present data on a centralized platform. An enterprise data platform incorporates strict governance, privacy, and security features to ensure that data integrity is protected at all times.

By using a DPaaS, different teams or employees within a single organization can publish, share and consume data with ease. DPaaS breaks down the conventional silo that isolates data in their respective domain. More importantly, DPaaS is provided on a managed platform and frees businesses from setting up or maintaining their own data infrastructure. 

Why Data Platform As A Service Is Important 

Prior to DPaaS, companies were bogged with the process of setting up and maintaining their respective data platforms. To do that, companies are required to invest and maintain physical data infrastructure. This invokes not only significant expenditure but also requires the necessary technical expertise to keep the servers operational. 

DPaaS allows data management to be scalable, flexible, and more secure. For businesses, DPaaS empowers their data strategy without a substantial upfront cost. Besides the greatly reduced cost of ownership, businesses stand to benefit from automation and analytics tools offered by DPaaS providers. 

How DPaaS Empowers Digital Transformation 

Digital transformation is a technological revolution that migrates various facets of a business to the cloud. The objective of digital transformation is to allow businesses to operate more efficiently, offer better services, and more importantly, increase profitability. These are achievable by leveraging DPaaS.

A large part of digital transformation lies in app development. The process of building apps used to be cumbersome in the past. Ask any seasoned developers and they’ll testify that balancing the computing resources on local servers to support the app is a challenging task. Often, developers either end up with insufficient resources or paying for more than they need. 

The juggling act comes to a stop when DPaaS evolves into comprehensive technologies that solve the developer’s pain points. Data platform benefits developers by allowing developers to scale cloud-based computing resources to their needs. Heroku, a DPaaS-based solution for app deployment allows developers the flexibility of adding or reducing their run-time resources.

The Different Types Of Data Platform As A Service 

So far, we’ve described DPaaS as a managed data platform architecture on the cloud. Various providers have built solutions based on the DPaaS infrastructure with differing features, flexibility, and use cases. Generally, the DPaaS can be categorized as 

  • IaaS

  • PaaS

  • SaaS

What Is IaaS 

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) describes the cloud computing model where servers, databases, and the necessary computing resources are delivered by a 3rd party provider. This means that the IaaS provider will provide the underlying hardware, operation systems, and network resources through a virtualized dashboard. You’ll have the flexibility in managing, configuring, and scaling the resources as needed. 

Examples of IaaS. 

  • Amazon AWS - offers cloud computing services on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

  • Microsoft Azure - a pay-per-use cloud service that allows data storage and transformation.

  • Google Compute Engine - virtual machines on Google servers that execute your workload on pay-per-user. 

What Is PaaS 


PaaS (Platform as a Service) delivers the necessary framework and computing resources for app development and deployment. It specifically caters to developers. Like IaaS, PaaS offers developers scalable computing resources. However, the PaaS provider is responsible for managing the underlying infrastructure, such as server setup, security patch update, and database integration. 

Examples of PaaS (🔗):

  • Heroku - allows developers to build, and deploy cloud applications in popular languages and frameworks, without worrying about infrastructure management. 

  • Render - a new PaaS that provides auto-scaled resource allocation for hassle-free cloud apps deployment. 

  • - features a native GitHub integration that allows developers to deploy on the cloud in a true CI/CD manner. 

What Is SaaS 

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a cloud computing model where application services are hosted on the provider’s network infrastructure and offered to end-users on a subscription basis. You can run a SaaS directly from a browser without prior installations. SaaS removes costly licensing and they can be accessed remotely. 

Examples of SaaS:

  • Salesforce - A cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution with analytics, monitoring, and customer support tools. 

  • Slack - Simplify collaboration, communication, and information sharing on a unified platform. 

  • Canva - An SaaS graphic design app to create a diverse range of visual content. 

IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS 

So, which of the DPaaS models is right for you? 

The answer lies in your digital platform strategy and use cases. While IaaS is the foundation of PaaS and SaaS, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

IaaS provides access to cloud-based computing resources without setting up your own data infrastructure. It is obviously an economical approach compared to hosting applications on on-premise servers. However, the flexibility requires a degree of proficiency in server management, database integration, security patching, and other low-level operations. 

Meanwhile, SaaS is at the other end of the spectrum as a targeted app solution served from the cloud. For businesses, SaaS eliminates the need for maintaining an IT team to ensure install, manage, and troubleshoot applications. However, SaaS is limited in terms of control, customization, and 3rd party integration.

Software developers seek a balance of flexibility and scalability but without the hassle of managing network infrastructure. It isn’t surprising that they’ve made PaaS the preferred data platform model. 

PaaS like Heroku offers the flexibility of deploying apps on the cloud without worrying about infrastructure management. This allows developers to focus on building the app instead of configuring servers.. Also, developers have the freedom to work with different languages and frameworks on a PaaS. With PaaS, they’ll only need to pay for the computing resources allocated to the apps.


Data Platform as a Service is driving digital transformation in the app industry. We’ve shown you the various models and examples of Data Platform as a Service. Of the various DPaaS models, PaaS serves software developers best. Developers leverage PaaS like Heroku to shorten time to market and reduce costs for building apps in popular frameworks. Heroku also has a wide range of add-ons, such as AutoIdle, that add functionalities and empower the app. With tools like AutoIdle, you are only paying for the time you’re actively using your app.

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