What Is CaaS (Containers as a Service)?


CaaS, which stands for containers as a service, has been growing in popularity over the last decade as more organizations look for ways to control tasks while leveraging the benefits of technology. CaaS takes uses cloud technology to control containers. Containers are applications that contain all of the code and libraries that they need to perform tasks on the cloud or personal computers.

CaaS plays a crucial role in today's enterprise IT. Other cloud-based services include IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and FaaS (function as a service). Within the hierarchy of XaaS (anything as a service), most experts place CaaS between IaaS and PaaS. With CaaS, you don't get an entire infrastructure as a service, but you get more than the application layer that PaaS offers.

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How CaaS Works

CaaS replaces virtual machines by behaving like an operating system. Instead of trying to recreate the work of hardware and software, CaaS uses a self-contained delivery model that lets applications complete tasks in the cloud. As self-contained services, clients can use CaaS in any environment.

Do you know the differences between CaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and FaaS? Read our blog post, Another As A Service?, to make sure you understand what each service can and cannot do for your organization.

Benefits of CaaS

CaaS offers numerous benefits that help enterprise clients work efficiently and safely while controlling costs. Some of the most important benefits of CaaS include:

  • Horizontal scaling that lets users add the right number of containers that they need to a cluster.
  • Cost reduction that comes from using the specific amount of service space and other resources required at any given time.
  • Security protocols that keep containers isolated to prevent issues from spreading.
  • Easy patching that helps users eliminate security concerns as they emerge.
  • Portability derived from a container's ability to hold everything that it needs to complete tasks.
  • Efficiency that helps development teams save time and money by running multiple containers on the same server, reducing the number of megabytes needed to complete complex tasks, and eliminating the inconsistencies that often arise when teams rely on multiple applications or machines.

Not every organization will necessarily benefit from CaaS. Large entities usually see the most benefits because they need to scale quickly to accommodate demand fluctuations. The more containers that a client deploys during horizontal scaling, the more money they save by avoiding the increased costs of virtual machines and similar technologies.

While some small businesses may benefit from using CaaS, the improved efficiency typically helps large corporations most.

Ways to Use CaaS

CaaS rarely offers advantages when clients use monolithic applications that include numerous features. Instead, they work best within a microservice application architecture. Clients can expect to deploy large clusters at once or according to a strategic plan, depending on how efficiently they want to operate.

Clients can also use CaaS when they need to run containerized apps within multiple environments. Since CaaS is self-contained, you can use them in practically any environment. This approach tends to work well with today's corporate model, which often allows employees to bring their own devices to work and team members may need to run CaaS from remote locations where they do not have access to company equipment.

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Popular CaaS Platforms

Some of the most popular CaaS platforms include:

While all of these platforms offer useful features, some excel in specific ways better than others. For example, GKE focuses on Kubernetes, a container management product developed by Google. Developers often use GKE for scaling containerized applications, reducing the need for on-site hardware, and controlling tasks across more than one host.

AWS Fargate offers many of the same benefits. With AWS Fargate, though, clients get a serverless approach to CaaS. (Despite the name "serverless," AWS Fargate does use off-site cloud servers. Serverless services get their names because clients do not need to set up or manage their servers. Instead, the service provider does that work for them.)

By offering a serverless approach to CaaS, developers can spend even more time focused on creating applications. Freed from server configuration and maintenance tasks, they can work more efficiently on their projects.

IronWorker and CaaS

Do you want to learn more about how CaaS can benefit your organization? Schedule a call with one of the experts at Iron.io to have a conversation about how IronWorker can replace other CaaS platforms while helping you save money.


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After you talk to someone at Iron.io, you can get a free, 14-day trial of the IronWorker program to help you decide whether it meets your CaaS needs.

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