Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is a type of cloud computing offering in which a service provider delivers a platform to clients, enabling them to develop, run, and manage business applications without the need to build and maintain the infrastructure such software development processes typically require.
As with other cloud services such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS), PaaS is offered via a cloud service provider’s hosted infrastructure. Users typically access PaaS offerings via a web browser.
PaaS can be delivered through public, private, or hybrid clouds. With a public cloud PaaS, the customer controls software deployment while the cloud provider delivers all the major IT components needed to host the applications, including servers, storage systems, networks, operating systems, and databases.
With a private cloud offering, PaaS is delivered as software or an appliance within a customer’s firewall, typically in its on-premises datacenter. Hybrid cloud PaaS offers a mix of the two types of cloud service.
Rather than replace an organization’s entire IT infrastructure for software development, PaaS provides key services such as application hosting or Java development. Some PaaS offerings include application design, development, testing, and deployment. PaaS services can also include web service integration, development team collaboration, database integration, and information security.
As with other types of cloud services, customers pay for PaaS on a per-use basis, with some providers charging a flat monthly fee for access to the platform and applications hosted on the platform.
PaaS’s business benefits and drivers
One of the biggest advantages of PaaS is that enterprises can gain an environment in which to create and deploy new applications without the need to spend time and money building and maintaining an infrastructure that includes servers and databases.
This can lead to faster development and delivery of applications, a huge plus for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge or that need to get products to market quickly.
PaaS also lets them test the use of new languages, operating systems, databases, and other development technologies quickly, because they do not have to stand up the supporting infrastructure for them. PaaS also makes it easier and faster to upgrade their tools.
And the use of PaaS forces enterprise software developers to use cloud techniques in their applications, helping then adopt modern principles and take better advantage of cloud infrastructure (IaaS) platforms.
Because organizations using PaaS can manage their applications and data, loss of control is not a major issue as it often is when using cloud infrastructure or applications.
Typical applications for PaaS
Providing a hosted environment for application development and testing is one of the most common uses for PaaS. But it is hardly the only reason why enterprises use PaaS.
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