February 16, 2022

“Platform as a Service” (PaaS): Definition, uses and benefits

AuthorMattia de Filippo

The „Platform as a Service“ (PaaS) model has been gaining popularity in recent years. The PaaS model especially helps developers to build and deploy their applications by abstracting low-level infrastructure (servers, routers, Internet gateways, load balancers, etc.).  

Platform as a Service (PaaS) eliminates the need to manage the underlying infrastructure (hardware and operating systems). It is enabled to focus on application deployment and management. The expenses caused by resource acquisition, capacity planning, software maintenance and patching are eliminated. PaaS is a suitable service model for companies with interlocking apps (e.g., a Django or NodeJS web app) that they want to deploy in the cloud without having to worry about the details when it comes to infrastructure.

When Platform as a Service (PaaS) is useful?

Here is a concrete example of Platform as a Service: Imagine you have written a web application in one of the popular frameworks (Django, Flask, Spring, etc.). So you automatically ask yourself the question: what options do you have if you want to show the application to the whole world?  

  • Variant 1:
    Deploying the application onto your own servers (on-premise deployment).
  • Variant 2:
    Renting, managing, deploying a server with a cloud provider (Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS).
  • Variant 3:
    The task of provisioning and managing of the servers are handled by cloud providers (Platform as a Service – PaaS)

Typical uses of PaaS

In addition to app development, PaaS is typically used for:  

  • Development and extension of application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Extensive data analysis
  • Establishment of a business process management platform or communication platform
  • Automation of databases (Database PaaS)
  • Management of critical business data (Source)

These are the benefits of Platform as a Service

When you choosing e Platform as a Service (PaaS), as a developer, you don‘t have to worry about updating the software onto the different servers. You don‘t have to worry about load balancing, the application can be scaled automatically according to various criteria, and the entire low level infrastructure is abstracted.

Lower costs
Savings are possible because you don‘t have to worry about the low-level work. Companies don‘t need to allocate human resources for infrastructure, it’s taken care of by the cloud provider.  

Faster time to market
Developers don‘t have to worry about building and deploying applications, they can focus on development while the cloud provider delivers the application to  the customer.  

Improved scalability
Cloud providers have automatic resource allocation so that the application automatically scales (up or down) based on user requirements.

Most cloud providers offer some form of Platform as a service (PaaS), making the above benefits available to any organization. But whether providers care about configuring the infrastructure is both an advantage and a disadvantage of PaaS. Because as a result, you have no influence on the infrastructure and cannot implement features yourself. In addition, only those programming languages and tools that the provider has made available can be used.

Commonly cited PaaS examples include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Azure App Services, and Google App Engine.
Learn more about them in upcoming blog articles.

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