06 September, 2021

So, what are all these Cloud acronyms, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, XaaS? and what is a private Cloud?

By: Lotfi Al-Sarori

Cloud acronyms, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, XaaS
Cloud-based systems are becoming increasingly common today. We see cloud hosting being used at the personal level, such as to back up our phone content or share documents with family and friends. They are also commonly popular in businesses to support collaborative work environments for example. However, what does cloud-based entail? Moreover, we keep hearing terms like private Cloud, public Cloud, SaaS (Software as a Service), but what do they really mean.

Let’s begin by defining how a system hosted online can be private.

Private Cloud vs Public Cloud

So, if cloud systems are hosted online and accessed through online channels to be available from anywhere at any time, how can they be private? And what does it mean to have them public?

Public Cloud

Public Cloud is the most common form of Cloud service deployment. In this approach, systems are hosted online by a Cloud service provider that offers its cloud services to a wide range of customers. Customers can typically be anywhere in the world and each customer will have their own access to the system with the range of features they signed up for.

Private Cloud

Private Cloud setup is where the systems, still hosted online and can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere, are provided to a specific entity such as a certain company or a group of companies. While this is almost the case in public Cloud, the difference is that in private Cloud, the whole setup (infrastructure, systems, etc.) is created to serve only this specific entity. Moreover, service usage is limited to the specified party for which the private cloud system was created. That is, these cloud systems are not provided to the public to sign up and use them. They are only available to the private party.


Types of Cloud services

Cloud services are also classified by the type of service provided and level of complexity involved. The three main types of Cloud services are known as:

  • Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS
  • Platform as a Service – PaaS
  • Software as a Service - SaaS


In the IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, deployment model, Cloud provider offer businesses the main infrastructure to run whatever system they require. This includes, at minimum, the underlying hardware such computer servers and network equipment, connectivity services, and all the necessary and related tools. Then, companies get access to this cloud infrastructure service to install the systems they need on the provided hardware. These can be companies providing other could services on top of this IaaS setup. They can be companies providing PaaS or SaaS, private, or public Cloud systems to their customers.


Building on the underlying infrastructure, PaaS (Platform as a Service) providers add the necessary operating system software (OS), such as Unix, Linux, or Windows. Moreover, they provide the necessary software and associated services required to enable companies to install their own software systems. The underlying infrastructure used by PaaS providers can be their own or hired from IaaS providers discussed earlier. Software offered by PaaS providers include middleware software and runtime environments, such as the .NET or J2EE frameworks, and other software such as web servers, application servers, and database engines. Moreover, PaaS providers usually offer other services that may be needed by SaaS providers (discussed next). These may include services for subscription management, billing and payment, and customer care.


SaaS is the topmost level on the stack of cloud services discussed here. It is also the most known type of cloud services since it is what end customers subscribe to. SaaS providers offer subscription-based software to their end customers. SaaS providers install their own software systems on top of the software platform (OS, runtime environment, etc.) typically provided by a PaaS provider. SaaS providers offer subscription-based software to their customers in a pay-as-you-go payment model. That is, instead of payment the full software license amount up front as in on-premise deployments, customers only pay for a periodical subscription. This way, customers can “subscribe” to a software service for the specified time and later unsubscribe if they are not happy with the service or don’t need it anymore.

Other type of cloud services

XaaS is the acronym used to denote any type of cloud service, where “X” would be the name of the provided service such as Infrastructure, Platform, Software, etc.

So, what other types of “XaaS” are out there?

Besides, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, there are a number of other cloud-based services that are offered either to businesses or end customers.

DaaS (Database as a Service) providers offer database storage services to companies such as those providing SaaS and need cloud-based datastore to use instead of using their own system’s database. This model is usually attractive to SaaS providers for two reasons. The flexible cloud payment model of pay-as-you-go and the relatively easy configuration of the service since it is already in the cloud.

Another example is CaaS or Communications as a Service, which provides enterprise communications in the Cloud for companies that would like to outsource their communications services. Payment as a Service is another type of Cloud service to provide payment services and there are numerous others with new ones introduced regularly.

These were some examples of cloud deployments and services offered in business today. Cloud-based systems and services have been popular for years now and are only gaining more popularity. Their fast deployment time, high availability, and flexible payment model makes them attractive alternatives to traditional on-premise systems in many cases. If your company have not considered using cloud business systems, you should start now. Discuss the possibility of using one, or more, cloud systems within your company. Bring it up with your company’s IT staff, which are typically knowledgeable about what can be offered out there that fits your organization’s business needs.

ESKADENIA Software offers a range of cloud systems in the SaaS model, check them out.

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