PaaS (Platform as a Service)

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PaaS (Platform as a Service) definition & meaning

PaaS stands for “Platform as a Service”, which provides the developers a complete cloud platform to develop, run, and manage applications without dealing with any additional cost, building, and maintaining the underlying infrastructure. PaaS is a form of cloud computing, which offers an infrastructure for cloud-based applications. It also can be used for cloud-enabled enterprise applications. In brief, even you have a simple application of an enterprise solution, you can easily use a PaaS to meet your infrastructure needs that an on-premise solution cannot match.

Types of PaaS

There are mainly six different types of PaaS. Public PaaS is derived from SaaS. It is situated between IaaS and SaaS which is hosted in the cloud. In public SaaS the providers manage the server.

Private PaaS is installed in the on-premises systems or in a public cloud if there is any special need. The managers can arrange the application and database components of the different software installed in multiple machines, into a single hosting platform.

Hybrid PaaS is a mix of public and private deployments. CPaaS stands for “Communications Platform as a Service” which allows the developers to add real-time communication features such as voice, video, and messaging in their applications. mPaaS stands for “Mobile Platform as a Service” which provides a development environment for mobile application designers and developers.

What is PaaS used for?

PaaS is used for building applications quickly without dealing with any installation or maintenance. Otherwise, the developers have to build, configure, and take preventive actions to run and secure their backend infrastructure. In short, Paas provides the developers have n instant access to the development environment including pre-built components. Some PaaS service providers also offer sample codes for the developers to understand and develop their applications easily and in a better way.

PaaS provides all components that an application needs. It uses virtualization technology to offer this ease of use by deploying and running and maintaining the required network equipment, computing, memory, storage, database, and other application development services. PaaS also includes tools for building applications via an intermediate layer of software.

How does Platform as a Service work?

PaaS providers offer a set of development environments to the developer. For instance, if the developer is working on a web application built on Django Framework, the PaaS provider may include an environment that provides Python, Django, PiP, PostgreSQL, Bootstrap, and jQuery. For sure the environment will also include the necessary operating system, services, and other components to run the application.

A PaaS improves the speed of developing an app and allows the user to focus on the application itself. Development tools provided by the PaaS provider are customized according to the needs of the user and the user can choose to maintain the PaaS software, or have the provider maintain it.

Virtualization vs Docker in PaaS

Not all PaaS solutions provide the environments based on virtualization technology, it may also use Docker as a good alternative. Docker containers share the operating system kernel on the Docker host and it also has their own file system, which means the processes running on a container is also displayed on the processes tables of the operating system. The containers on the system are managed by the Docker daemon that allows the users to create, delete, move, and halt the containers easily and without creating any conflicts between the containers.

When a container starts the Docker image is created by the file system. The Docker image then opens a further layer and writes its own data in it. A Docker image may consist of programs, libraries, and various data. The developers can create any number of containers from the Docker image.

Advantages and disadvantages of PaaS at a glance

There are several advantages ofo using PaaS solutions for development projects. You can see most of the biggest advantages of using a PaaS solution in the list below:

Pros Cons
✔ Reduces the cost of building and maintaining the development infrastructure ✘ Dependency on the vendor as all the background work is automatically provided
✔ Speed development allows new products to enter the market faster. ✘ Compatibility of existing infrastructure with the new environment may not be constructed
✔ Performing all the necessary updates and applying security patches automatically ✘ Relying on the PaaS provider may not be a good option. You ensure your system is well protected
✔ Scalability provides allocation and release of the necessary resources
✔ Freedom to focus on software development without dealing with infrastructure creation
Advantages and disadvantages of PaaS

Understanding the difference

IaaS PaaS SaaS
Applications Customer Customer Provider
Data Customer Customer Provider
Runtime Customer Provider Provider
Middleware Customer Provider Provider
OS Provider Provider Provider
Virtualization Provider Provider Provider
Servers Provider Provider Provider
Storage Provider Provider Provider
Networking Provider Provider Provider
IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

What is the difference between IaaS and PaaS?

The main difference between IaaS and PaaS is the flexibility and direct control over the system. An IaaS offers the developers more control over the operating systems, on the contrary PaaS offers better flexibility and ease of use. The IaaS users can manage and add additional features over the operating system, PaaS users can directly focus on developing the applications.

What is the difference between SaaS and PaaS?

The main difference between SaaS and PaaS is the management scalability ratio. SaaS allows users to deliver their applications over the Internet. PaaS allows users to develop their applications over a fully managed and ready-to-use platform.

Is Serverless same as PaaS?

Most of the users mix up serverless technology and PaaS solutions. Serverless is based on a usage-based payment model, PaaS solutions are mostly based on the pay-as-you-go model. In the serverless model, the application of a function will scale up automatically without the requirement of the developers to make the necessary configuration. A Paas solution also provides scalability, but the developers have to configure the scaling parameters manually, which means there is no automatic scaling on PaaS systems.

What is an example of PaaS?

There are several different PaaS vendors on the market. Here are the top 7 PaaS providers:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk
  • Oracle Cloud Platform (OCP)
  • Google App Engine
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Salesforce aPaaS
  • Red Hat OpenShift PaaS
  • IBM Cloud Platform

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