What is PaaS (Platform as a Service)?

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is best visualised as sitting in the middle of a three-tier Cloud computing pyramid that also comprises IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). The amount of customer control over the virtualised IT resources increases as you descend the pyramid.

PaaS Diagram

For PaaS, think application development and deployment environment as a service. Service providers provision and manage not just the fundamental infrastructure resources but also the operating systems, databases, middleware and software tools that overlay the hardware. Customers, freed from creating and maintaining the environment, can focus on their work within it, developing, testing, deploying and hosting applications.

The Evolution of PaaS

The most significant shift in PaaS has been its evolution from ‘developers’ dream’, where coders could just crunch away without having to worry about any of the complex and challenging IT plumbing, to today’s core business platform. PaaS is now increasingly being leveraged for full application lifecycle management, so no longer just the traditional build and test phase, but also the on-going delivery and support of applications to the end user.

Why Should Organisations Consider PaaS?

With its ability to offer scalable, streamlined and fully managed development environments of almost infinite capacity, and with its characteristic opex-based costs model, PaaS can:

  • Significantly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership, with massive savings on infrastructure and software maintenance costs
  • Underpin agile software development, speeding time to market and revenue
  • Deliver the same experience and performance regardless of load and usage
  • Facilitate effective collaboration of distributed development teams
  • Enhance platform management through the easy, frequent upgrading of operating systems
  • Encourage greater responsiveness to change and opportunity through removal of CAPEX barriers
  • Promote more confident, quality development by providing a robust, predictable and integrated environment
  • Support core competency approach, with developers allowed to focus on what they do best
  • Safeguard builds, delivery capability and intellectual property, with data security, backup and recovery  all part of the service wrap

The Benefits of PAAS

Feature Benefit
Replaces lower-level infrastructure components and maintenance requirement Time, cost and resource-effective means of running application development environments
No CAPEX required Greater affordability encourages more responsive approach
Front-end focus Development teams can concentrate on the application rather than the ‘plumbing’
Flexibility and adaptability Platforms can be quickly tailored and scaled to meet precise demands
Diverse availability Multiple developers can collaborate on builds effortlessly, regardless of location
End-to-end lifecycle management Streamlined, efficient and controlled means to develop and deploy applications
Shorter development cycles Ready-made environments boost time to market and revenue
Specialist provision Expert design, delivery and on-going management guarantee highly secure, fully optimised environments

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