PaaS

Platform as a Service, often simply referred to as PaaS, is a category of cloud computing that provides a platform and environment to allow developers to build applications and services over the internet. PaaS services are hosted in the cloud and accessed by users simply via their web browser.

Platform as a Service allows users to create software applications using tools supplied by the provider. PaaS services can consist of preconfigured features that customers can subscribe to; they can choose to include the features that meet their requirements while discarding those that do not. Consequently, packages can vary from offering simple point-and-click frameworks where no client side hosting expertise is required to supplying the infrastructure options for advanced development.

The infrastructure and applications are managed for customers and support is available. Services are constantly updated, with existing features upgraded and additional features added. PaaS providers can assist developers from the conception of their original ideas to the creation of applications, and through to testing and deployment. This is all achieved in a managed mechanism.

As with most cloud offerings, PaaS services are generally paid for on a subscription basis with clients ultimately paying just for what they use. Clients also benefit from the economies of scale that arise from the sharing of the underlying physical infrastructure between users, and that results in lower costs.

Below are some of the features that can be included with a PaaS offering:
  • Operating system
  • Server-side scripting environment
  • Database management system
  • Server Software
  • Support
  • Storage
  • Network access
  • Tools for design and development
  • Hosting

In summary, a PaaS offering supplies an operating environment for developing applications. In other words, it provides the architecture as well as the overall infrastructure to support application development. This includes networking, storage, software support and management services. It is therefore ideal for the development of new applications that are intended for the web as well as mobile devices and PCs.

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