What is a Platform as a Service (PaaS)?

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Let’s understand PaaS.

PaaS is an abbreviation for Platform as a Service, which is a type of cloud computing service.

A PaaS is a service that offers a platform required to build, run, and manage applications. It helps developers write application code and deploy applications without considering technical aspects, such as the execution environment, database, or web servers. A PaaS works at a more abstract level of cloud computing than an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and users do not need to worry about hardware resources, such as servers, storage, and network.
Instead, PaaS delivers and manages platforms to run applications. These platforms include various features for developers to use, for example, libraries, development tools, databases, and security for web application development. A PaaS allows developers to develop and deploy applications with higher levels of abstraction, which can improve development productivity and cost efficiency.

Digital transformation, episode 10: Cloud, the core technology of DT (2)Insight report describes how PaaS works, using the analogy of borrowing resources.
"PaaS (Platform as a Service) is when you borrow the cloud from service providers to a moderate extent. Let me give you an analogy to help you understand. The team leader ordered the employees to plan a performance. The performance must start rigdht away, next week. What would you do? You could request the theater owner to create the stage exactly as you want and handle only the performance preparation yourself. This is ‘PaaS’."

[Gartner's definition] Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a type of cloud offering that delivers application infrastructure (middleware) capabilities as a service. Gartner tracks multiple types of PaaS, including, among many more, application platform as a service (aPaaS), integration PaaS (iPaaS), API management PaaS (apimPaaS), function PaaS (fPaaS), business analytics PaaS (baPaaS), IoT PaaS, and database PaaS (dbPaaS). PaaS capability can be delivered as provider-managed or self-managed, multitenant or dedicated.
[Forrester's definition] ] A complete application platform for multitenant cloud environments that includes development tools, runtime, and administration and management tools and services, PaaS combines an application platform with managed cloud infrastructure services.

What are the advantages of PaaS?

Cost efficiency

PaaS service users can utilize a PaaS infrastructure instead of purchasing hardware infrastructure, such as servers, storage and network. Moreover, PaaS automates the operation and management of applications to reduce manpower costs.

Enhanced development productivity

A PaaS offers a ready-to-use development environment where developers can focus on writing application code by easily configuring middleware, database, and development tools. In addition, it integrates cutting-edge technologies, various platforms, frameworks, databases, and APIs that help developers implement a variety of applications and services.

Enhanced scalability

The PaaS infrastructure is scalable on demand, making it easy to scale up applications based on user requirements. It supports horizontal and vertical scaling, automatically provisioning and releasing resources as needed.

Improved reliability and security

PaaS providers automatically process backup, recovery, and security to maintain reliability of the applications. It guarantees the seamless operation of applications in cases of hardware failures or other issues. Furthermore, it can provide secure platforms due to its expertise in security.

What should we consider when introducing PaaS?

Limited control

A PaaS abstracts the underlying infrastructure, so the level of control over application programs for the developer may be restricted. It may cause problems for developers who require detailed data and control over the infrastructure.

Security risk

Developers should check if their applications are properly protected, and if PaaS providers are taking appropriate cautionary measures.

Vendor dependency

PaaS providers may use exclusive technologies or APIs, making it hard to switch to other providers. It can limit flexibility for developers to choose tools and services that best fit their requirements.

Limited customization

PaaS providers deliver a limited range of tools and services, which can restrict developers from customizing infrastructure according to their specific requirements.

Additional costs

PaaS can be cost-effective, but when usage increases unexpectedly or demand spikes, the costs are unpredictable. Developers should keep monitoring usage to estimate costs.

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