Platform as a Service: Concepts, Advantages & Disadvantages

Blog /cloud-series-part-7

In my last post I talked about the concepts, advantages and disadvantages of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a cloud service model.  I promised that this post would cover the emerging Platform-as-a-Service or PaaS service model.

PaaS allows application developers to develop and manage applications without the need to purchase additional hardware or to hire resources to manage the added infrastructure. Developers can build applications and services over the Internet using tools supplied by the provider. Organizations can customize the features of PaaS so it can deliver a simple framework or a complete infrastructure for sophisticated development.

The infrastructure and application platforms are managed by the provider in return for a subscription fee. Features that might be included in a PaaS package are operating system, database management system (DBMS), server-side scripting environment, server software, network access, and support and tools for design and development, as well as operations to provision these development services.

Some PaaS configurations even make it possible for non-IT users to develop software for themselves by using the web browser. The platform can be customized and the subscription altered as required to fit the changing needs of the enterprise.  Consequently, it provides a more flexible and adaptable infrastructure. Security and backup and recovery are also provided as part of the service. Most importantly, since the interface is typically a web browser, PaaS facilitates global collaboration since development teams in different parts of the world can work together by simply using an internet connection.

Currently, PaaS does not represent a complete solution. Unlike with SaaS, the client must still design, build, and test applications. In addition, organizations remain dependent on a third party and the service provider’s adherence to a service level agreement. Changing providers may also prove difficult. Lastly, the integration of on-premise data contained within in-house legacy systems and PaaS-based applications is often challenging.

Which brings me to my next topic - Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS).  In my next post I'll define iPaaS and highlight it's advantages and disadvantages, just as I've done for IaaS, SaaS and PaaS.

- Ryan Reed, Cloud Evangelist

Post Date: 11/14/2014

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