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Platform as a Service (PaaS)

What is Platform as a Service (PaaS)?

Platform as a service (PaaS) is defined as a complete environment that provides the infrastructure, development tools, runtime environment, and means to manage and deploy applications. PaaS operates according to a pay-as-you-go or resource-based pricing model, which removes the overhead capital expenditrues (CapEx) associated with buying and maintaining physical hardware or infrastructure.

How Does PaaS Work?

PaaS works by offering a streamlined, scalable approach to application development, deployment, and management in the cloud. It offers capabilities, such as:

  • Built-in scalability: PaaS allows for automatic scalability of applications based on changes in demand according to increased traffic, workload spikes, etc.
  • Administrative task reduction: Infrastructure management tasks, like server provisioning and operating system updates, are the responsibility of the provider rather than the IT teams who are using the service
  • Simplified development: Most, if not all, PaaS platforms provide pre-configured environments, frameworks, and development tools
  • Quicker time to market: Developers can utilize pre-built functionalities, such as caching mechanisms and databases, within PaaS platforms to develop and deploy applications faster

What's Included in Platform as a Service (PaaS)?

  • Underlying infrastructure: Servers, networking, and storage make up the infrastructure of PaaS, which is all maintained by the provider
  • Management tools: Applications need to be monitored for performance and scalability reasons, which can be aided by various management tools
  • Runtime environment: A runtime environment includes an operating system, software, and programming languages needed to run an application
  • Development tools: Different tools can be useful to develop software, including integrated development environments (IDE), debuggers, and code editors
  • Deployment tools: Once the application is ready to go into the production environment, a deployment tool can help make the move, sometimes even automating the deployment process

What is the Difference Between IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS?

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are distinct cloud computing service models. While platform as a service (PaaS) works on the application level, creating an environment for developers to create and deploy applications, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) operates on the computing level and Software as a service (SaaS) provides cloud access to hosted software applications.

What are the Three Types of PaaS?

There are three main types of Platform as a Service:

  1. Public PaaS: Public PaaS is typically the most cost-effective option but does not always allow for the level of customization and control as private PaaS. Typically public PaaS is offered by cloud providers like Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  2. Private PaaS: Private PaaS is a dedicated platform deployed within an organization's private cloud environment or private infrastructure. Private PaaS offers a deeper level of customization, control, and security over public PaaS.
  3. Hybrid PaaS: Hybrid PaaS is a combination of public and private PaaS environments.

PaaS Pros and Cons

Working with a PaaS provider comes with a number of benefits for organizations looking to get applications up and running quickly. In addition to the time saved that would otherwise be spent setting up the environment, the subscription-based model can be more cost-effective for many businesses. Tools and features available via PaaS make it easy to collaborate with team members, and providers often have strong security measures in place to protect applications and data.


While using a PaaS provider can be beneficial, it's important to be aware of drawbacks. The provider you end up working with will likely have control of the underlying infrastructure, which may mean less control or flexibility with how the application is managed or deployed. Customers can also feel locked into a particular vendor, especially if there would be significant redevelopment or data loss concerns upon switching.

Since your application(s) and data reside within infrastructure managed by a provider, there may be concerns around data security, privacy, and compliance that will need to be addressed before moving forward. Additionally, compatability and integration challenges may arise when integrating existing applications, legacy systems, or third-party services with a PaaS platform.

What Are Examples of PaaS?

There are several popular Platform as a Service providers, Some PaaS examples include the following:

  • Microsoft Azure App Service
  • Google App Engine
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk
  • Salesforce Platform
  • Heroku

PaaS Use Cases

PaaS environments can fit a few different use cases. Some common projects include developing and deploying web applications or mobile applications, cutting down the cost and time that would be needed to purchase and maintain hardware and software. PaaS can also be used with an application programming interface (API) - a set of guidelines and rules that enable communication between two pieces of software. Internet of Things (IoT) applications can also be developed using PaaS. These include smart home devices, wearables, and security devices.

How to Choose a PaaS Provider

Choosing a PaaS provider that is right for your project should be decided based on a few factors. Different types of applications are better suited for some PaaS providers than others. Understand the strengths of each provider and how they align with the applications on your development roadmap before picking one.


You should also consider the feature list and support offered by each provider, and how they may meet (or fail to meet) your needs. These pieces also need to be balanced with the budget allocated to a PaaS environment and the development projects.

How TierPoint Can Help With PaaS

Whether you need help matching the appropriate platform with the app you're developing, or you're seeking guidance for workloads deployed across all three environments - IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS - TierPoint can help you find the cloud services that are right for you. Talk to us today to learn how cloud solutions can help you reach your digital transformation goals.

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