• What is Platform as a Service

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Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a third party data hosting environment that provides users with access to a suite of cloud computing technologies focused on application development and delivery. PaaS delivers a scalable IT infrastructure as a means of rolling out both existing and bespoke applications. Additional services include access to Middleware and Analytics Tools.

The Big Picture - Understanding Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The extent to which a company may choose to provide clients with access to data via the cloud (i.e. virtual server hosting) can be broken down into three tiers of cloud computing. PaaS is seen as the middle tier. Understanding how PaaS relates to the complementary upper and lower tiers of cloud computing is an essential part of gaining insight into the functions and benefits of Paas.

  1. IaaS
    IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service. IaaS combines basic elements of cloud computing, providing users with access to physical IT infrastructure (i.e. third party data centre), firewalls, and servers. This allows access to applications, typically located on shared public servers.
  2. PaaS
    Paas is the next level of cloud computing. All the usual functions of SaaS are available with the additional ability to create and roll out applications. This is broken down into several major functions. Please see Why Do I Need PaaS? below for an indepth look at scenarios involving PaaS.
  3. SaaS
    SaaS stands for Software as a Service. This is the final tier of cloud computing. IaaS and Paas functionality form the bedrock of SaaS, where the vendor is in control of all cloud computing aspects - this includes housing and maintaining the physical IT infrastructure, providing access to servers, and application delivery (typically this would consist of pre-built applications made available through shard public access to virtual servers).

Why Do I Need PaaS?

Any company that wishes to develop and deploy bespoke applications but wishes to forgo the considerable costs associated with maintaining and housing a private data centre may wish to consider PaaS. In addition to the significantly lowered financial burden of outsourcing applications to a virtual hosting and deployment environment, there are several major benefits to both the host (server side) and to the end user (client side).

Benefits of PaaS include:

  • Analytic Tools
    PaaS provides access to analytics tools, meaning data that is compiled over the user timeline of all current applications may be mined. This can lead to a better understanding of the marketplace which in turn can help to drive application ‘tweaks’ or may highlight the need for additional application creation.
  • Rapid Development
    Companies could stand to capitalise on emerging trends with rapid development and rollout of applications through PaaS. This may include adding Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) as an integrated live communications service (e.g. voice, video). This greater connectivity with the end user could result in improved levels of feedback.
  • Develop Existing Apps
    Developers may build upon existing apps made available as part of PaaS. This may serve to expedite the rollout of tailored apps, while the company will benefit from scalable server support in response to demand (online traffic).
  • Middleware Connectivity
    Middleware connects client requests for data to the correct file. As well as speeding up access to data, Middleware is able to analyse requests, meaning geographically relevant data is displayed in the same language as the request (e.g. English, French, German, etc.). Middleware also verifies digital certification, enhancing security.

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