Platform as a service (PaaS) automates the configuration, deployment and ongoing management of applications in the cloud.

Platform as a service (PaaS) is a cloud computing model in which a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools — usually those needed for application development — to users over the internet. A PaaS provider hosts the hardware and software on its own¬†infrastructure. As a result, PaaS frees users from having to install in-house hardware and software to develop or run a new application.

Common PaaS Scenarios

Organisations typically use PaaS for these scenarios:

Development Framework

PaaS provides a framework that developers can build upon to develop or customise cloud-based applications. Similar to the way you create an Excel macro, PaaS lets developers create applications using built-in software components. Cloud features such as scalability, high-availability and multi-tenant capability are included, reducing the amount of coding that developers must do.

Analytics or Business Intelligence

Tools provided as a service with PaaS allow organisations to analyse and mine their data, finding insights and patterns and predicting outcomes to improve forecasting, product design decisions, investment returns and other business decisions.

Additional Services

PaaS providers may offer other services that enhance applications, such as workflow, directory, security and scheduling.

Which Cloud PaaS is best for your business?

At first glance, it might look like many PaaS options can meet your needs. A closer look reveals that only a few are true commercial-grade solutions and that significant philosophical and architectural differences exist between them.

Here are some important criteria to keep in mind:

  • Open and non-proprietary, with no lock-in
  • Meets existing reliability, performance and scalability requirements
  • Provides transparency and configurability
  • Backed by an organization with deep technical expertise and elite support

You should also ask prospective vendors the following questions:

  • What technologies does your PaaS support?
  • What stage of development is your PaaS in? Production, beta or pre-beta?
  • What does your support model look like?
  • What level of scalability, high availability and security do you provide?
  • Will your PaaS allow me to quickly and easily extract my data and run my application elsewhere?