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Platform as a Service, otherwise known as PaaS, is a cloud-based service that offers you the possibility to develop and oversee applications without the hassle of creating and maintaining software development infrastructure. PaaS often boasts middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems and much more.
It falls into the triad of other cloud computing options like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
What makes PaaS appealing for many is its focus on supporting the entire life cycle of a web application, from building and testing to managing and updating. You’ll only need a reliable internet connection to reap the benefits of the platform.
Additionally, like IaaS and SaaS, you can pay for PaaS on a pay-as-you-go plan with a flat monthly fee charged by some providers.
How does PaaS work?
A cloud service provider hosts infrastructure that makes the use of PaaS possible. With an internet connection and a web browser, you can access the PaaS offering in one of three different clouds: public, private and hybrid.
In the first option, the cloud provider supports software deployment by delivering the fundamental IT components necessary for application hosting. These elements can include servers, networks, operating systems and more. In the private cloud alternative, you can take advantage of PaaS within the security of a firewall set up by you in an on-site datacenter. Then, there is the hybrid cloud, which offers the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the flexibility of responsive capacity whenever needed while maintaining predictable monthly expenses for daily workloads. The leading feature of PaaS is that central services like application hosting or Java development are possible without overtaking a business’s complete IT infrastructure.
What is the difference between PaaS and IaaS?
To understand the main difference between PaaS and IaaS, you have to consider the advantages that the latter platform offers. IaaS, unlike SaaS or PaaS, lets you control your own data infrastructure via virtualization technology (dashboard or an API). You pay for storage and server space without having to physically maintain it on-premises.
IaaS is also more flexible in comparison to PaaS, letting you purchase resources on demand. However, PaaS may be the best option in other contexts.
Who uses PaaS?
PaaS is ideal for many developers due to the platform’s hosted environment for application development, testing and deployment.
However, businesses will find that PaaS can serve a purpose in other scenarios, including but not limited to:
- Business analytics/intelligence — PaaS equips businesses with tools that can draw insights and identify behavioral patterns from data for a more refined decision-making process.
- Communications — For communication platforms, developers can take advantage of PaaS to integrate components such as voice, video and messaging to programs.
- Internet of things (IoT) — As IoT becomes more integral to PaaS, companies will enjoy increased support for application environments and programming languages/tools in IoT deployments. This, in turn, can contribute to elastic scaling and much more.
What are the advantages of PaaS?
- Speedier time to market — PaaS helps to reduce coding time when it comes to developing new apps. Cloud providers offer pre-coded application components like security features that can accelerate the entire workflow process. Also, because there is no need to conceive and build infrastructure, developers focus on the main task of launching the actual software or program. In terms of competitive advantages, this aspect is vital.
- A single, dynamic environment — As PaaS is available via an internet connection, it is accessible for all regardless of geographical location. This can be important for developer teams that work remotely, as work regarding application development is concentrated in one environment. In PaaS environments as well, developers can test new languages, OS, databases, etc. to create a more tailored product.
- No more worries about licensing — Businesses and developers alike do not have to worry about purchasing licenses for OS, development tools, and other platform components.
- Better cost-efficiency — One of the more notable benefits of PaaS is its economic model, which is usually a pay-as-you-go service. This means that you can make the most of certain platform elements without the need to purchase all the virtual machines or additional infrastructure resources. For some providers, there may be a flat rate, but this can make for smoother, more predictable budgeting.
What are examples of PaaS?
There are many different examples of PaaS. Some of the leading businesses include:
- Google App Engine
- Google Cloud Functions
- Microsoft App Azure Service
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
PaaS is just one of many technologies shaping the landscape of how companies do businesses nowadays. If you are curious to learn more about the latest changes occurring in technology, cloud computing services and digitalization, then go on and take a look at our blog coverage on tech trends!