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Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Definition and Meaning

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Jaroslaw Paprocki 8c0ebd7514

12/07/2022 |

5 min read

Dominika Reszke,

Jarosław Paprocki

There are several cloud computing services models and Platform as a Service (PaaS) is one of them. The others include Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which enables control over cloud computing infrastructure. What’s worth mentioning, is that all of them can be used independently, or as layers of one stack.

These three service models (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) may be understood as standard services offered by cloud computing providers; of course, a cloud service provider doesn’t necessarily have to be a PaaS provider. 

Apart from these three pillars of cloud computing services, there are other interesting acronyms in this area, such as: 

  • FaaS (standing for Function as a Service),
  • BaaS (Backend as a Service),
  • MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service),
  • EaaS or XaaS (meaning Everything as a service).

Why should we focus on PaaS, then? Well, the role of Platform as a Service in cloud computing is vital and ever-increasing, as is the significance of cloud infrastructure, cloud migration, or cloud services in general. However, PaaS itself offers so many benefits it may bring to both the software development environment and businesses who make use of it, that it’s definitely worth putting in the limelight.

Table of contents:

1. PaaS cloud in a nutshell

2. Platform as a Service examples

3. Major benefits of PaaS solutions

4. PaaS and cloud computing services wrapped up

PaaS cloud in a nutshell

A cloud-based toolset that lets developers govern certain services within parts of development projects without focusing on the entire infrastructure – that’s what PaaS can be boiled down to. Letting companies automate backend processes, the PaaS model is proper for instances where serverless computing is in use, and resources are more abstracted.

What’s crucial is that PaaS originally was to make developers „forget about infrastructure and operations” so that they could concentrate on writing code and discard the „messy and challenging IT plumbing work”. The latter was meant to be taken care of by the PaaS provider.

And what does this help look like, in real life? A PaaS vendor simply delivers ready-to-use solutions, like software development kits, or application development and management tools, and hosts the hardware and software using its own infrastructure. Companies who take advantage of the third-party PaaS can simply redirect their resources to other areas and deploy applications faster and smoother.

Interestingly, there are also some PaaS variations in the market, including Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) and Data Platform as a Service (dPaaS) that are being used as delivery models for data by data management and integration providers. Also, a specialized Mobile Platform as a Service (mPaaS, aka mobile PaaS), as well as Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS), are sometimes distinguished.

Read: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS Differences: Choose Wisely

Platform as a Service examples

Historically, the first PaaS solutions were in the public cloud. And that was the case of Zimki, the first Platform as a Service, launched back in 2005. However, later on, the PaaS model has also been extended to private and hybrid clouds.

One of the most notorious – and also one of the first to hit the market – major PaaS examples is Google App Engine with its initial release in 2008. It is still up and running, just like Heroku, developed in 2007, and Engine Yard, founded in 2006.

Another old-established cloud provider is Microsoft Azure, initially released in 2008. It is a versatile cloud computing service, and providing PaaS is only one of the services it offers, along with storage, mobile, and website building services, as well as CDN, and data management.

As of 2022, there are many more big PaaS vendors out there, with Amazon Web Services topping the list. Another cloud-based platform in heavy use today is IBM Cloud, followed by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, OpenStack, Cloud Linux, Wasabi, and many others.

Major benefits of PaaS solutions

There are numerous benefits of PaaS adoption, underpinning many aspects of web or application development and deployment.

What developers often praise PaaS for are, for instance:

  • technical viability
  • greater development capabilities
  • increased automation and deployment standardization
  • improved scalability
  • faster app creation

And what numerous clients or businesses gain thanks to making use of services delivered by PaaS providers is the possibility to:

  • accelerate innovation
  • maintain cost control
  • increase efficiency
  • reduce risk
  • utilize secure technology

PaaS and cloud computing services wrapped up

The role of PaaS in cloud computing is truly impressive as it lets various development teams do their jobs quicker, in a more standardized way, and with operational and security risks reduced – by delivering some pre-set solutions or other useful development tools.

PaaS service enables developers some ready-to-use programming language components, without the need for focusing on infrastructure management based on individually licensed products. By taking advantage of these solutions, modern businesses can publish and manage websites or web apps better and easier.

Of course, service models cloud computing providers offer (PaaS, IaaS, SaaS) shouldn’t be confused with deployment models, which embrace public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud but also community cloud, multi cloud, poly cloud, big data cloud, distributed cloud, and other, less popular, solutions. However, there are types of PaaS that reflect this public, private, and hybrid cloud division, with applications for public cloud services being those from which everything started.

If you, too, want to take advantage of versatile PaaS solutions, and are looking for a technological partner to guide you through this matter, contact us now. 

Rated: 5.0 / 2 opinions
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Dominika Reszke

IT Content Writer with 12 years of professional writing experience. Prefers facts and figures to any kind of fiction.

Jaroslaw Paprocki 8c0ebd7514

Jarosław Paprocki

DevOps Engineer at Codete. Automation is the way to go! Japanese martial arts enthusiast (only dogs are more awesome!).

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