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What Is PaaS? Platform As A Service

In the realm of computer sciences, technology has advanced at a dizzying pace. The technological activities that the computer industry has relied on for decades have grown faster, more powerful, and more prevalent in every aspect of our lives. Automation has taken over some manual labor jobs, while machine learning and complex algorithms have become crucial pillars of information processing.

One of the more recent innovations in the technology sector is the area of development. Some significant changes have occurred there that have shaken up the way software is created, and one of the biggest is referred to by its acronym: PaaS. But what is PaaS, and how is it changing software development?

The Definition Of PaaS

PaaS stands for “Platform as a Service.” With traditional software development, creating a program or application involved investing in and maintaining local technology infrastructure. Someone who wanted to develop software had to buy the computer on which that software would be made before purchasing the software that might be required to code and create that software. A network infrastructure would also have to be bought and maintained for whatever Internet access requirements the programmer might have. Security for that network would have been an investment and a consideration as well.

With PaaS, all of that is migrated online. Large portions of the development infrastructure now exist in “the cloud” as online components. Users will still need a computing device and Internet access to take advantage of PaaS features, but many other components are now bundled together in a complete, cohesive package, including:

  • Servers
  • Operating Systems (OS)
  • Database
  • Middleware

In some ways, this is a turnkey solution that only requires the bare minimum of technology access and provides everything a potential software or applications developer would need to start working.

How Does PaaS Work?

PaaS follows three models. On the more accessible side, there are public PaaS alternatives. These are found entirely in the cloud, like Software as a Service (SaaS), so any device with Internet access can take advantage of the PaaS infrastructure, storage, and computational power.

There are also private PaaS models where, if the client desires, aspects of the PaaS can either be downloaded onto specific data centers for greater privacy and security or kept in the public cloud if that’s a better fit.

Finally, because of the configurable nature of PaaS, hybrid models are available too. These mix public, cloud-based PaaS solutions with the privacy and security advantages of private PaaS services.

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    The common denominator among all those models is that the software, processing power, OS, and other aspects of development are provided for and accessible through PaaS.

    The Advantages

    Choosing to implement a PaaS system brings has many benefits. One of the biggest is scalability. Because the PaaS infrastructure exists entirely in the cloud, you can scale up or down smoothly without having to reconfigure your infrastructure to accommodate more or fewer employees regularly. Suddenly bringing in a dozen new hires, for example, doesn’t mean you have to buy a dozen new operating systems and copies of the development software. In the same way, if some contract workers are released, you won’t have unused copies of your OS doing nothing.

    Another benefit is time. Between installing and configuring a new OS, software, and other necessities on a work station, a lot of time is needed. Add to that the network infrastructure maintenance required to ensure everything works smoothly and securely. PaaS takes much of the maintenance time away from companies, leaving only actual development time to get to work.

    Finally, the cost savings are significant. With a cloud-based OS and software, companies don’t necessarily have to invest in high-powered in-house computers for developers to work on. While computing devices and Internet access are still part of any company’s budget, this technology no longer has to be specced to meet the intensive demands of software development. Even cost considerations such as security can be passed onto the PaaS itself as part of the all-in-one package it provides.

    What Can PaaS Be Used For?

    PaaS can be deployed for a variety of different business needs, including:

    Business Process Management

    Companies can create the specific software and infrastructure they require to handle the unique needs that their organization faces. No software is as effective as bespoke software designed by the people who will use it, and PaaS facilitates this process.

    Databases

    Different groups will have varying requirements for how data is processed, accessed, and stored. PaaS gives organizations the ability to configure their own database requirements quickly, securely, and efficiently for everyone involved.

    Business Analytics

    Intelligence or analytics processes may, depending on the task, require either a little or a lot of processing power. Because PaaS is cloud-based, the computational resources required for analysis can be scaled up or down depending on the tasks required. This is a far more efficient solution than buying more machines as analytics demands increase.

    If you’d like to learn more about the PaaS options available to you, contact us today.

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