Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides the developers a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud. It is a computing model wherein third-party providers deliver the hardware and software. In PaaS, the users purchase the resources as needed from the provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Platform as a Service includes infrastructure such as storage, servers and networking along with middleware, development tools, database management systems (DBMS), Business intelligence tools and more.
With Paas, you are able to avoid the complexity and expenses of buying and managing software licenses and the underlying infrastructure along with other resources.
Architecture and Working of Platform as a Service
PaaS is not a replacement for any business’s entire IT infrastructure. A business relies on PaaS providers for certain services such as application hosting and development environments.
PaaS implementations generally deliver a set of virtual machines and a menu of software stacks.
The service providers wrap the entire system into a uniquely accessible entity with a common interface. It also allows users to select the desired OS and required software development environments.
PaaS is an expansion of the IaaS which stands for Infrastructure as a service. IaaS started with providing mere infrastructure.
PaaS logically expanded the concept by providing virtual machines and development environment along with infrastructure. This has made the developers concentrate more on the development efforts and lesser on the environment to be set up.
The above figure demonstrates the PaaS stacks. On the base level is the Virtual Machines (VM). These VMs are provisioned via an IaaS infrastructure.
Then the IaaS interface makes use of a configuration management system to install and manage the required software solutions. A PaaS interface finally delivers the requested environment.
This design of the stack allows the system to remain scalable and flexible in the services it is capable of providing.
Pros and Cons of Platform as a Service
A major benefit of Platform as a Service is that it concentrates on the simplicity and convenience of users.
PaaS provides most of the infrastructure and environment needed by the developers which the users can access anywhere via a web browser.
The users are charged according to their use so that they don’t have to worry about setting up the infrastructure or buy and manage the licenses.
Some providers offer the users to opt for a monthly package for a certain price to access their services.
With Platform as a Service, the users have to carefully assess the risks involved with committing to a service provider.
If a provider experiences any infrastructure disruption, it can adversely affect the customer resulting in lapses in productivity.
With the provider lock-in being a constraint, the users are unable to migrate their data and services to another vendor.