What is PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)?

Complete comprehensive understanding of PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) including its features, types, working, etc:

PaaS – an acronym for Platform as a Service Provider – is an online platform that allows individuals and companies to develop, manage, and optimize applications without buying the underlying infrastructure.

The blog post contains a comprehensive review of the software development platform.

Here you will find out what is a platform as a service (PaaS) and also what are some of the pros and cons of the PaaS platform.

Let us begin!

Understanding PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)

What Is PaaS

Market Trends: Platform as a Service (PaaS) accounts for about 20 percent of the total cloud market services. The market revenue exceeded $55 billion in 2021.

The following graph shows important statistics about the PaaS market between 2020 and 2026:

PaaS market between 2020 and 2026

[image source]

Expert Advice: A cloud migration policy is a must for transferring the legacy on-premise to a platform as a service (PaaS) platform. The policy must consider factors such as staff training, costs, and the appointment of a dedicated project manager for transitioning to the PaaS platform.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) What is PaaS with examples?

Answer: PaaS provides customers with control over computing platforms and resources. Customers can have access to the operating system, web server, database, and programming execution environment.

Examples of PaaS solution providers include Apache Stratos, Amazon Web Services (Elastic Beanstalk), Google App Engine, Windows Azure, Heroku, and Force.com.

Q #2) What is PaaS vs SaaS?

Answer: PaaS is an on-demand cloud service for developing, running, and maintaining online apps. In contrast, SaaS is a solution for hosting online applications. The former is offered to software developers, while the latter is targeted at end-users.

Q #3) What is PaaS and IaaS?

Answer: PaaS is a cloud service platform that provides hardware and software solutions to customers for app development. IaaS, or Internet as a Service, offers control over storage, virtualization, and networking resources.

Q #4) What is a Hybrid platform?

Answer: A hybrid platform is a combination of IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS solutions. An example of a hybrid platform includes Amazon Web Services (AWS), which offers PaaS, IaaS, and packaged SaaS offerings.

Q #5) Is PaaS cheaper than IaaS?

Answer: PaaS is cheaper than IaaS. It is easy to manage and maintain apps using the platform solution. However, it is less scalable and customizable as compared to IaaS.

Comparison Between IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS Platforms

AimAccessing, customizing, and monitoring computer resourcesHosting web applicationsDeveloping, hosting, and managing web apps
IaaS, SaaS, PaaS ExamplesAmazon, Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Computer Engine (GCE), Cisco Metacloud, Digital Ocean, Linode, RackspaceSalesforce, Google Workspace, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Cisco WebEx, SAP Concur, GoToMeetingAWS Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Azure App Service, Google App Engine, Salesforce Heroku, Cloud Foundry, and RedHat OpenShift
Pros· Automate deployment of computer resources
· Flexible hardware resource utilization
·            Complete control over hardware and software
· Allow startup and small companies to deploy apps
· Affordable and quick collaboration
· Automatic software and hardware backup and updates
· Cost-saving in app development
· Scalable services
· Develop apps without maintaining the required infrastructure
· Reduction in coding for app development and maintenance
Cons· System vulnerabilities and insider threats pose a risk for companies
· Lack of support for legacy apps
· Additional training is required for maintaining cloud infrastructure
· Vendor-specific performance and downtimes
· Lack of control over underlying infrastructure
· Minimal customization ability
· Security options limited to vendor’s hosting policies
· Difficulty in integrating with existing infrastructure
· Runtime issues due to unavailability of specific services

An Overview

Platform as a Service (PaaS) was launched for the first time by the London-based company Fotango in 2006. The cloud platform known as Zimki allowed the development of JavaScript web apps.

The platform is used for cross-platform web application development. It saves software and hardware costs in developing and managing apps.

Main Features

The PaaS platform is a cloud development platform that offers convenience in web app development. It allows quick delivery of apps, shortening the software development cycle.

#1) Integrated Development through Managed Infrastructure

The main features of the platform include a managed infrastructure and integrated development. Vendors manage the underlying hardware, including computer servers, data centers, storage, and networking devices. They are responsible for managing and updating the underlying infrastructure.

Integrated development means that developers have access to all the tools required to design, debug, and deploy apps. The apps are integrated into the web development environment, which saves cost and complexity in maintaining the development infrastructure.

Some vendors also provide collaboration and project management tools required for managing remote teams.

#2) Middleware Support

PaaS platforms also feature operating platform resources. It provides an environment to execute apps and also access managed databases. Most vendors also provide middleware support through tools required for the integration of user applications and operating systems.

#3) Opinionated Development

PaaS allows the ‘opinionated’ development of apps that make them appropriate for the development of greenfield applications. The platform provides templates for app development around which developers can develop web apps.

How Does PaaS Work

PaaS works by offering a managed cloud service for a simple, quick, and cost-effective application development platform.

With the PaaS platform, app development companies have access to a virtualized computing environment consisting of operating systems, networks, storage, and app development tools.

PaaS service providers also offer tools required for developing, testing, and debugging apps online.

The PaaS online model streamlines the complexity involved in app development. The infrastructure-related issues are handled by the service provider. This includes security upgrades and patches to ensure a secure computing environment.

What’s Included in PaaS

PaaS is composed of integrated services that together make up components of the cloud environment.

Here is a brief description of the key components of the cloud development platform:

#1) Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure is the main component of the PaaS platform. It is composed of the runtime environment, servers, operating system, storage, and middleware, such as language stacks.

The PaaS provider ensures that every part of the cloud infrastructure works efficiently. The service provider ensures that the components are up-to-date, secure, and working properly.

#2) Fully Managed Services

Fully managed services allow app developers to access data without having to set up and manage the underlying software and hardware. This results in a more efficient workflow, as they can focus on app features without getting distracted in managing the infrastructure.

#3) Value-Added Tools

The PaaS platform consists of value-added tools that help the programming team efficiently deploy and manage apps. These tools include support for continuous delivery and integration of apps. It allows apps to be integrated with third-party service providers, app monitoring tools, and other management tools.

Types of PaaS Platforms

PaaS platforms are of different types. Agencies can select a specific configuration that meets their requirements.

#1) Private Cloud

A private cloud is a type of PaaS where the data is hosted in a private data center. The company manages and updates its cloud ecosystem, including networking, servers, and platform resources. It also protects the cloud infrastructure using firewalls and other security solutions.

#2) Public Cloud

The Public Cloud PaaS environment involves infrastructure maintained by the service provider. The provider handles all the tasks involved in maintaining the infrastructure. This includes upgrading and updating the infrastructure to ensure a secure and reliable cloud environment.

#3) Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a type of PaaS that is a combination of public and private cloud environments. The vendor offers hardware resources such as servers, storage, and networking components. The customer installs specific software and other services to customize the cloud environment.

PaaS Advantages

Developers can benefit from PaaS in several ways. The platform allows for quick development and deployment of apps. Developers don’t have to patch and upgrade the app development tools. It saves time and cost involved in maintaining the app development platform.

PaaS vendors maintain the infrastructure. This allows developers to focus on optimizing apps for the users.

With PaaS, web development firms have access to the latest web programming languages and native deployment techniques. They don’t need to invest a lot to benefit from the latest cloud development environment.

PaaS Risks

One of the biggest risks of PaaS is the lack of control over the development environment. This also leads to information security and privacy issues. In addition, vendor lock-ins and unscheduled outages are some of the cons of the cloud platform.

The risks of the PaaS platform lead some firms to develop their own PaaS. They create internal development cloud-based platforms for greater control and security in web app deployment.

Common PaaS Scenarios

PaaS is used by companies for different purposes. Here are the common scenarios where companies select the PaaS platform:

#1) Natural Disasters

Companies located in areas that are prone to natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes select the PaaS platform. The platform serves as an alternative to an on-premise solution protecting from natural disasters.

#2) Business Acquisition and Mergers

Another scenario where businesses opt for the PaaS solution is during business acquisitions and mergers. Merging of the business often results in the incompatibility of operating systems and applications.

The PaaS platform offers a solution for integrating different on-premise data centers at a relatively low cost. Migrating apps to the cloud allows a streamlined transition that will accommodate different geographies and environments.

#3) Renewal of Contract

Businesses have to renew hardware and software at regular intervals. This presents an opportunity for companies to assess and compare on-premise and cloud PaaS solutions.

Businesses generally opt for the PaaS solution instead of renewing contracts to save costs. Most often, PaaS turns out to be a cost-effective solution as compared to an on-premise platform.

#4) Compliance with Regulations

Reliable PaaS vendors provide solutions that are compliant with local regulations. This is particularly useful for healthcare and financial companies that have stringent data protection requirements.

Moving to the cloud environment ensures that the operation complies with the regulatory requirements. It saves costs in the audit and upgrade of the existing on-premise solution to ensure compliance with new laws and regulations.

#5) Reduce Security Risks

Companies also opt for Cloud platforms to reduce the risk of online attacks. The on-premise solution is exposed to a lot of online threats, such as malware and ransomware.

PaaS offers a ready-made solution to reduce the risk of cyber threats. There are ready-made PaaS solutions that reduce the risk of different types of online threats.

#6) Seasonal Capacity Building

Businesses generally have large seasonal capacity changes. Meeting the temporary spike in demand with on-premise upgrades can be costly. It can be expensive to upgrade the software and hardware to meet the increase in demand for computing resources. The spike in demand is temporary and resources remain largely underutilized in periods of low demand.

So, companies generally opt for PaaS for seasonally capacity building. The pay-as-you-go model is a more cost-effective solution to meet varying requirements.

Difference between PaaS and iPaaS

Integration as a Service Platform (iPaaS) is an online platform that provides a cloud ecosystem similar to PaaS. The platform goes a step further by offering an integrated solution that connects separate data and applications in the cloud.

The following table summarizes the difference between PaaS and iPaaS Platforms.

Features PaaSiPaaS
Cloud EnvironmentDedicated cloud environmentIntegrated cloud environment
App PlatformApps based in the same environment Integration of apps in different environments
Focus Part of the cloud infrastructure Entire infrastructure
Suitability Large organizations that work with dedicated apps Small and medium-sized companies that work with multiple apps
Skills RequiredCoding knowledge and skills requiredNo coding knowledge or skills required

iPaaS offers a centralized online environment. It provides greater convenience in managing data, resources, and infrastructure. The cloud platform results in improved product and data sharing.

Unlike PaaS, which focuses on part of the development framework, iPaaS focuses on the entire cloud infrastructure. It provides connected and integrated solutions between interfaces, websites, applications, and data sources.

iPaaS is better suited for small companies as they generally work with different applications. In contrast, PaaS is suitable for large organizations that mostly work with a single application and build their integrated infrastructure.

Finally, no coding skills are required for iPaaS. With PaaS, expert coding knowledge and skills are important to make the best of the platform.

Building Application on PaaS vs On-premises

Building on-premise applications can be costly and cumbersome. The process is inelastic and slow. Each on-premise application requires specific hardware and software resources, including middleware, services, databases, operating systems, networks, and storage.

App developers have to navigate through complex frameworks such as .Net and J2EEE. System management experts have to configure the on-premise system as per the requirements.

Large companies dedicate resources to house specialized facilities for their data centers. A lot of electricity is required for the servers and others on-premise. A failover site is also required for mirror data backup so that data can be restored in case of a disaster.

In contrast, a PaaS subscription allows the application to be hosted on the cloud. It provides significant cost advantages as compared to an on-premise setup. The cloud environment does not require regular updates and backups.

App developers can benefit from PaaS due to scalability and flexibility. They can run almost any type of application without having to worry about the backend infrastructure.

Developers can run mobile and web apps, application programming interfaces, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the cloud environment. PaaS services can easily be scaled depending on the demand for application programming services.

PaaS Delivery

Applications on PaaS can be deployed as a back-end service. It can provide a specific function, such as push notification or user authentication. A lot of companies are adopting a microservice approach for building the application architecture.

PaaS delivers both back-end and front-end services that make it easier to manage and deploy apps. Companies can also manage microservices built using different languages. This framework allows the delivery of customized and modern apps that drive customer engagement and innovation.

Organizations that Provide PaaS

Various organizations provide PaaS solutions. Some of the platforms as service examples include the following:

#1) AWS Elastic Beanstalk

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

[image source]

AWS Elastic Beanstalk is one of the first PaaS platforms. The platform allows convenient and quick deployment of apps. Salient features of the platform include load balancing, scaling, capacity provisioning, and application health tracking.

Elastic Beanstalk automates these features, allowing app developers to focus on developing the app features.

#2) Microsoft Azure App Service

Microsoft Azure App Service

[image source]

Microsoft Azure App Service provides developers with mobile backends, host web apps, and RESTful APIs. The platform allows programmers to select their custom language for creating web and mobile apps.

The PaaS platform provides support for Linux and Windows. It also features automated scaling and deployment from Azure DevOps, Git repo, and GitHub. Developers can securely run apps using the App Service Environment.

#3) Google App Engine

Google App Engine

[image source]

Google App Engine allows developers to host apps in data centers managed by Google. Apps are scaled across servers located in different locations. A secure environment is created through the sandboxing technique.

The fully managed PaaS service supports all types of applications through custom runtimes. The service is free for utilizing resources up to a certain level, after which a fee is charged for additional bandwidth, storage, and instance hours. Google offers a reliability uptime of 99.95 percent in its service level agreements (SLA).

#4) Salesforce Heroku

Salesforce Heroku

[image source]

Salesforce Heroku is part of the Salesforce cloud application platform that supports common runtime linked to Linux containers. The containers are called dynos that are spread across AWS servers.

The PaaS platform initially supported Ruby. But the support has now been extended to Java, Python, Node.js, PHP, Scala, and Go. It is an example of a polyglot platform that allows programmers to develop and scale applications across multiple languages.

#5) Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift

[image source]

Red Hat OpenShift is another popular PaaS platform. The platform allows containerized deployment of applications. Unlike most other web app development platforms, apps can be deployed either on-premises or hosted by the cloud.

OpenShift is a Kubernetes container platform that is built around Docker containers. The containers developed by Red Hat Enterprise Linux allow hybrid and multi-cloud app deployments.

#6) Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry

[image source]

Cloud Foundry is an open-source PaaS platform. Developed by VMware and Pivotel Software, the platform allows container-based apps to run using Kubernetes. The development platform for cloud-native apps provides an efficient model for the development of web apps.

The Future of PaaS

PaaS platforms help save software, hardware, and staffing costs in developing applications. The service provider essentially provides everything to develop and manage apps. This turns the focus solely on optimizing the customer experience when developing apps.

PaaS customers don’t need to buy or maintain costly infrastructure to create and maintain apps. The solution eliminates the task of maintaining the infrastructure. Customers can adopt the best technologies and innovations without having to commit a lot of resources.

PaaS in cloud computing has come a long way. The platform has saved time and cost in developing and updating web applications. But the cloud development solution is slowly being replaced by the newer container-as-a-service (CaaS), function-as-a-service (FaaS), and server-less platforms.


Determining the needs of the organization is an important first step in implementing PaaS. The platform offers advantages in terms of streamlined operations and cost savings as compared to an on-premise development environment.

Implementing the PaaS platform results in an efficient workflow and improved communications that will lead to increased staff productivity. But you need to identify whether integrating with the cloud environment will help support your company’s goals.

Research Process:

  • Time taken to research this article: It took us about 5 hours to research and write on the topic of what is PaaS.
=>> Contact us to suggest a listing here.