Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a business model where the product is a cloud-based application development platform. It lets customers develop and run their own applications. Using PaaS allows them to avoid building the infrastructure and spend money on the components and tools they would normally need in order to build their apps.

To put it simply, if you wanted to bake a cake you’d need to buy all the utensils and equipment, and require a suitable kitchen as well. If there were a PaaS for baking, all you’d need to do is rent the kitchen with everything you need in there to bake your cake.

Other interesting terms…

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Organizations that subscribe to the PaaS model can “rent” the following from providers:

  • Hardware that includes servers, middleware, storage systems, network tools, and other devices
  • Resources such as databases and support and maintenance crew
  • Software that encompasses all other programs (operating systems [OSs], specialized software, etc.) needed to run their own applications

Some PaaS providers charge users on a pay-per-use basis while others ask for a monthly subscription fee. That amount allows them to use any of the providers’ resources mentioned above. The PaaS vendor also takes care of the resources to ensure everything runs smoothly on the users’ side.

Some of the most prominent PaaS providers include Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, IBM, Google, and Red Hat, among others. These providers have different offerings that fall under PaaS types.

Types of PaaS

  • Public PaaS: This makes use of the public cloud. As such, it allows users to manage and configure databases and services without necessarily handling the infrastructure they run on.
  • Private PaaS: This type uses a private cloud and so exists within the user’s firewall. As such, it is viewed as more secure and allows businesses to comply with policies better. It is also more cost-efficient compared to running a private datacenter.
  • Hybrid PaaS: This is a combination of public and private PaaS. As such, it affords the users the flexibility that public PaaS in terms of accessibility offers while keeping critical and confidential information more secure as in the private PaaS model.
  • Communication PaaS (CPaaS): This is a kind of PaaS platform that comes with built-in communication features that allow users to interact with one another.
  • Open PaaS: This is an open-source platform that promotes collaboration among users that can result in faster deployment.

Like its counterparts, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), PaaS usage comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Pros and Cons of Using Platform as a Service Model

Some of the key benefits of using PaaS are scalability and cost-effectivity. Since the vendors provide users with all the resources and tools they would need, businesses can focus on application development. PaaS vendors are typically IT giants, and so have the infrastructure any organization would need to develop their applications. Users need not worry about not having access then to any tool they require. And because users don’t need to purchase their own materials, they don’t spend as much. They don’t even need to bother with maintenance and repair as the vendors take care of those, making PaaS more cost-effective for users.

On the other hand, since users rely on the PaaS vendor’s resources, an outage on its part means access unavailability. O the user’s part, that could translate to service disruption, which can negatively impact its productivity and revenue. And since Platform as a Service model users primarily utilize shared resources, unprotected data may be prone to compromise. Others can also experience compatibility issues, especially if their equipment are older than those that the PaaS vendor provides.