Finding Opportunity in the Cloud: Platform-as-a-Service

In our previous post we talked through the most basic form of cloud computing services, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). In this post, we’ll discuss the next level of cloud computer services, Platform-as-a-Service.

What is Platform-as-a-Service

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a cloud-based environment that comes with everything required to support web-based applications. The PaaS vendor provides networking equipment, server hardware, and the server operating system with management tools. PaaS platforms enable an organization to quickly spin up servers and deploy (or develop) web-based applications for their audience without the cost of buying or building the physical servers and installing, managing, and patching server operating systems.

Benefits of PaaS

Companies that develop and deploy software benefit from the speed and efficiency of PaaS.  The most obvious benefit to PaaS solutions is no longer having to maintain server hardware and operating systems. The next benefit is most PaaS vendors have created tools that makes common infrastructure tasks, like adding a new server or increasing the memory allocated to a server, easier or even automatic. This ease of management means a company is more flexible in how they spend their money, they can scale up and down with customer demand and only pay for what they actually use. Another benefit is PaaS vendors regularly update their infrastructure and software. This means customers get updated hardware and the latest software and patches which impacts both performance and security.

The one drawback of PaaS is that the service can cost more than owning your own servers and operating systems. This often comes down to a companies preference for capital versus operational expenditure and willingness to hire staff to support and manage infrastructure.

Examples of PaaS vendors
Force.com
Google App Engine
Windows Azure Cloud Services
Heroku
Red Hat OpenShift

 

You can learn more about leveraging cloud computing on our previous posts:

Introduction to Finding Opportunity in the Cloud

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)