What is PaaS? – Platform as a Service


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. 

Below, we’ll take a look at what PaaS is, the benefits that it offers, and common scenarios where PaaS can be an incredibly effective solution. 

What is PaaS (Platform as a Service)?

PaaS – Platform as a Service is a type of cloud computing service that provides developers with a platform and an environment where they can build websites, applications, and other software solutions. Creating such a platform on-site would require large investments in both hardware and software and is typically only a viable solution for companies that are large enough to justify such investments. With PaaS, though, businesses of all sizes and even individual developers can access a state-of-the-art development platform over the internet for an affordable fee without having to invest in their own servers. In most applications, this ability makes PaaS more affordable than other solutions, though there are some instances where a private cloud solution may be more affordable.  

There are also many other options to consider such as IaaS – Infrastructure as a ServiceDRaaS – Disaster Recovery as a Service. Also IaaS vs DRaaS vs PaaS.

PaaS Architecture 

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 Scenarios

PaaS offers value in a wide number of applications. Some common scenarios where PaaS is an ideal solution include: 

Web Development  

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.

Software Development

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.  

Advantages of PaaS

Focus Resources

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.

PaaS Scalability

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. This means that you are able to focus on scaling your business while being able to rest assured that the development platform you use will easily scale along with it, step for step.

Maximise Uptime

Downtime is the Achilles heel of a software development team. In addition to grinding your business to a halt, downtime of your development platform may even cost you customers if you are using that platform to host your website or to provide other software solutions that your customers are relying on. When you manage your own development platform, downtime can come from any number of sources including cyber attacks, power outages, malfunctioning hardware, and numerous others. PaaS providers, however, are dedicated to keeping their servers up and running and often offer service-level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee at least 99.9% availability. To ensure maximum uptime, PaaS providers make use of cutting-edge tools and processes as well as a high level of experience at keeping their platform up and running – all things you may not have available if you are managing your own development platform.

Stay 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.

Conclusion

PaaS offers a wide range of advantages to businesses of all sizes, freeing up their developers by reducing the number of tasks they have to focus on, improving scalability, maximising uptime, and more. Best all, every one of these advantages can be acquired for a fee that is affordable to small and large businesses alike, levelling the playing field of software development and empowering small to medium size businesses to create software solutions, websites, and applications that are of the highest possible quality.

If you would like to learn more about the advantages of PaaS as well as how you can incorporate a PaaS solution into your own business, we invite you to contact us today.

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