Platform as a service (PaaS) is a service model offered to simplify the process of developing and deploying apps. With PaaS, developers don’t need to worry about the underlying software and hardware their applications depend upon. When using a PaaS, the service provider provides and maintains the following:
- Operating systems
- Software development kits (SDK)
- Any other relevant software needed for application development
In addition to the software, the service provider also provides the infrastructure needed for the application. PaaS includes the services provided by an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering. Compared to the other two cloud services available - IaaS and software as a service (SaaS) - On the service provider, PaaS places more responsibility than IaaS and less responsibility than SaaS.
Advantages of PaaS
Since a PaaS relieves developers of many maintenance tasks, an application can be developed and deployed much more quickly.
Using a PaaS is often cheaper than building and maintaining the necessary software and hardware in-house. PaaS applications scale based on how much they are being used. Without using PaaS, developers risk paying for more than what they need.
Since it is a web service, PaaS allows a team of developers to collaborate on a project regardless of each developer’s geographic location.
Disadvantages of PaaS
When using a PaaS, developers are limited to the use of the software technologies (langauges, frameworks, libraries, etc…) that are available from the vendor. Before selecting a vendor for PaaS, developers should make sure that they are comfortable using what the vendor provides. Another disadvantage of PaaS is migration. It is possible for a vendor’s technology stack to not be compatible with another vendor’s technology stack; therefore if a team of developers wishes to change vendor, they may be required to completely rework everything for things to work on the new vendor’s platform.
Providers of PaaS
Many of the major tech firms have a PaaS offering. Examples:
- Google App Engine
- Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
- Microsoft App Services
These are just a few of them. There are also open-source versions of PaaS (such as Cloud Foundry, Dokku, and OKD) that are offered by some smaller tech firms or independent developers.
Platform as a service is a widely available solution for developers looking to streamline the development of a project. Since many of the responsibilities are handled by a PaaS vendor, it can be a cheaper option than creating an in-house platform. Before committing to a PaaS solution, it is critical to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each vendor’s offering.