Software, Platform, Infrastructure Model

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What Does Software, Platform, Infrastructure Model Mean?

The software, platform, infrastructure (SPI) model is a term that encompasses three popular types of cloud computing services:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This model can be useful in combining various types of vendor services for business use.

Techopedia Explains Software, Platform, Infrastructure Model

Trying to understand the SPI model involves some characterizations of different types of cloud computing services:

  • SaaS: Includes standalone Web applications that support various computing functions
  • PaaS: Offers a greater software environment or platform through cloud computing delivery models
  • IaaS: Refers to vendor-provided hardware and software

The SPI model looks at these three services in an integrated way, either to differentiate them or offer combined cloud computing that provides two or more combined services. Experts have noted that by itself, the infrastructure is not always useful because, to help companies use existing services, it can be provided on top of SaaS/PaaS.

An example is a situation in which a business orders applications or platforms from cloud vendors. In some cases, the business may need specific hardware to utilize these services, such as when displaying software or platform service data. Here, the cloud computing company could ship servers, computers or other pieces of hardware that help the business utilize cloud-delivered services.

The SPI model is becoming useful as companies increasingly use the Web to obtain items for operational purposes. Cloud computing offers substantial benefits over locally sourcing IT infrastructures. This is why cloud computing is expanding and becoming more complex in today’s markets.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.