PaaS – Platform as a Service
Last Updated: February 9th, 2023 10 min read Servers Australia
What is PaaS?
Platform as a Service. PaaS, is a cloud-based service that delivers a hardware and software solution for your organisation’s application development and deployment. PaaS goes beyond IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service by moving the operating system, middleware and runtime environment into the cloud. You get a full platform for supporting your application needs without needing to be hands-on with the backend operations of the platform.
One of the most valuable services that businesses of all sizes can make use of is PaaS (platform as a service). PaaS is a versatile service that can be used in a wide range of applications, multiplying the effectiveness of a business’s IT pursuits without requiring massive upfront investments.
PaaS is a versatile service that can be used in a wide range of applications, multiplying the effectiveness of a business’s IT pursuits without requiring massive upfront investments.
PaaS architecture is the process by which developers create software solutions within a PaaS environment. PaaS enables developers to “rent” virtual space within which they can create all manner of software solutions. That virtual space is kept updated and secure by the PaaS provider, and all of the tools necessary for developers to create solutions within the environment can be uploaded to the PaaS platform.
Rather than existing in a single physical location, developers using a PaaS build their software solutions on the cloud, meaning that the solutions they create can be accessed and edited from any device that is connected to the internet. Of course, these solutions are kept completely secure and are accessible only to those who are provided with the correct log-in information.
Developers also have the option to edit the platform that they work within to meet their individual requirements, installing the tools that they need in order to create a fully-customised environment. Multiple team members can access a single environment as well to work on projects that require the attention of more than one developer.
Once a software solution has been created within a PaaS environment, the solution can then be downloaded to any physical location or transferred to another online location.
However, one word of caution regarding PaaS is that you should avoid getting locked into specific tools and applications within your platform that make it impossible to transfer an application you create elsewhere. When building a product using PaaS, it’s always better to plan for agnostic deployment of your application into a hosting environment.
Common PaaS use cases
PaaS enables web developers to create every aspect of their website within a custom-built environment that is dedicated to website development. In addition to building their website within the PaaS environment, web developers can also test the functionality of the site and even host the site from the PaaS platform where they built it. In this way, PaaS enables web developers to manage every stage of the web development process from a single platform and service.
Developing Internal Business Software
A large number of businesses rely on custom-developed software to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their internal operations. However, many businesses do not develop enough internal software to justify providing their developers with an on-site creation platform. This is where PaaS is ideal since it provides developers within a business an environment which they can use to create internal business software anytime it is needed without necessitating a large upfront investment in hardware.
PaaS has been an invaluable gift to software developers who are developing applications to sell. Before PaaS, many software developers were left unable to afford the hardware necessary for them to create top-quality applications. PaaS, however, has leveled the playing field for software developers, enabling developers to access and afford a state-of-the-art development platform regardless of whether they are working for a large company, a small company, or developing applications on their own. Within the PaaS environment, developers can manage every stage of an application’s development so that by the time the developers are ready to move their application beyond the PaaS environment it will be completely market-ready.
Of course, these represent just a few of the common ways in which businesses and individual developers make use of PaaS. The reality is that PaaS is an incredibly versatile service, and how you make use of it is entirely up to your individual needs and what type of software solutions that you want to build.
Benefits of PaaS
Unexpected downtime is a major issue for all types of organisations, whether you’re working on a life saving non profit mission or you have mission critical projects going offline in a corporation. PaaS providers have uptime guarantees and statistics available so you know exactly how good they are at keeping their promises. The last thing that you would want to have happen is for your equipment to go down during an application deployment or another important period. A PaaS with reliable uptime gives you peace of mind.
Access to Powerful Equipment and Software
Your budget for in-house hardware and software may not come close to what you’d actually like to work with. You can frequently get access to enterprise-level solutions that can help you grow your organisation and improve your operations. These powerful tools may be just what you were looking for, and you don’t have to pay the upfront costs to get access to them.
Better In-house IT Resource Usage
PaaS removes the need for your in-house IT staff to manage and maintain a lot of equipment and software. The PaaS provider is the one working on that side of things, so IT has more opportunities to work on applications, IT strategy and other important initiatives. You can also drive better IT engagement among the staff, as the majority of their day will be taken by up tasks requiring more critical thinking, rather than routine maintenance procedures.
Data breaches are a concern that’s on everyone’s mind, and if you don’t have top of the line security solutions, then you could have vulnerabilities that leave you open to an attack. The PaaS provider is the one that protects your critical servers, keeps your operating system and middleware up to date, and monitors the systems closely so they can respond quickly in the event of an attack. The proactive maintenance measures that a PaaS provider has in place for firmware, software and operating system updates also gives you another way to be safe from hackers. It’s easy to forget to patch a server if the IT staff has too many things to handle in a day. A PaaS provider doesn’t run into that same issue, since it’s part of their primary job duties. They also have the appropriate physical office security measures in place to ensure that every aspect of security is covered.
Lowering Your Costs
When you look at the direct and indirect costs for handling application development platforms in-house, versus going through a PaaS provider, you can see exactly how much a PaaS saves you over the short and long-term. You have more flexibility for the types of environments that you can work with, can scale up and down without any problem, and you don’t have to bring in more personnel to handle the requirements associated with expanding your application development projects. Consider your business in a CapEx vs OpEx in an IT environment.
Another advantage to this pricing model is that you’re paying a single monthly cost to the PaaS provider, rather than juggling bills from multiple vendors. You can keep a close eye on the contract terms and the invoices, ensuring that everything is accurate and for the agreed upon amounts.
Reducing Network Bandwidth Requirements
Your in-house network can get overloaded during certain operations related to development and deployment. When you’re working on the applications, their bandwidth requirements could bring everything else to a halt. When you work with a PaaS provider, they have their own separate network so you have improved capacity for load-intensive processes. You shouldn’t have to make everyone else wait to get their work done, simply because the in-house network can’t handle that much traffic. Upgrading an in-house network can be expensive, so PaaS helps you avoid this issue entirely.
Upgrading an in-house network can be expensive, so PaaS helps you avoid this issue entirely.
Standardised Development Environments
Cross-collaboration between teams and departments is a great way to make the most of your resources, but that’s difficult when everyone is using their own development environments. When the entire organisation uses the same PaaS service, they operate on a standardised platform that makes it easy to work on similar projects. This standardisation can also come in handy if your organisation ever goes through a merger or an acquisition.
Scaling a development platform that you build yourself is no easy task. While building a platform that fits the current needs of your business might be simple enough, building a scaling mechanism so that the platform will grow and adapt alongside your business requires a ton of foresight as well large investments in hardware. A PaaS platform, however, can be scaled up and down as needed in little time at all. PaaS providers already have all of the hardware and infrastructure in place to provide you with any type of development platform that your business needs at a moment’s notice.
With PaaS, many of the tasks associated with the development of software solutions are handled by the PaaS provider. These tasks include deployment of the platform, management of the platform, security, and others, and all of these tasks are things that you and your IT team don’t have to focus on when you use a PaaS solution. Having fewer responsibilities pertaining to the software development process means that you are able to better focus your resources and free up your developers to work solely on the task of development itself.
Reduced Skill Requirements
Managing your own development platform requires your developers to demonstrate skills beyond software development. This necessity leads many businesses that employ an on-site development platform to hire more generalist, “jack of all trades” developers. However, since PaaS frees up developers to focus only the task of software development rather than the various tasks associated with system administration, using a PaaS solution means that you will be able to hire developers who are high-quality coders without having to worry about their system administration skills.
Keeping up to Date
It’s one thing to build your own development platform, but it’s quite another to keep it up to date. Of course, regularly tracking, maintaining, and updating every component of your platform is vitally important, not only to ensure to ensure that it is functioning at its highest level but also to ensure that it is kept secure. Given the vast number of individual components that make up a development platform, though, keeping your platform up to date is no easy task, and it’s not uncommon for important updates to get lost in the shuffle. With PaaS, though, keeping your platform up to date is never a concern that you or your developers have to worry about. Every component of a PaaS platform is managed and updated by the PaaS provider. This ensures that when your developers log into their development platform they will be using a platform that is fully functional, completely updated, and entirely secure each and every time.