Platform as a Service (PaaS): What is It and How Can It Benefit Your Business?

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a form of cloud computing services, which is most useful for business customers in technology industries. Less common than Software as a Service (SaaS), the PaaS model is used by small businesses developing and selling their own software.

Here’s how PaaS options typically work.

The Basics of Platform as a Service

Cloud computing allows companies to store their software and data on a provider’s remote servers. Outsourcing this IT function saves money, time, and reduces the number of in-house IT personnel required. The majority of cloud computing services on the market are SaaS, which allow companies to host a specific software system at a cloud computing facility. Such systems may include accounting programs or customer service software. PaaS is a similar concept that’s geared toward software developers and programmers to host their in-progress projects.

Writing the code for software and deploying programs requires significant server space, advanced software to create programming environments, and steps to keep data secure. Investing in this infrastructure is expensive. Many companies are unable to afford the infrastructure and software purchases needed to launch or grow their programming efforts. Platform as a Service vendors offer developers an alternative. For a monthly fee, developers are able to access these tools, servers, and programming environments remotely. Instead of being housed on the developers’ servers, everything is stored in the cloud.

The Advantages of the Platform-Service Model

The Platform-Service model offers software development companies several advantages including cost savings, reduced technical maintenance, and increased mobility. The upfront costs for purchasing servers, other hardware, and the necessary software licenses are eliminated. With servers hosted offsite, fewer tech support staff are required. Expensive tools that may be required for only a short period of time during the software development process can be accessed as part of the overall PaaS package.

Employee mobility is increased, as everything is accessible via web-based tools. Many agile software developers, who follow a trend that focuses on moving from concept to workable product as quickly as possible, seek the flexibility of a Platform as a Service environment. The wide range of tools available make it possible to adapt the programming environment to an ever-evolving software concept.

Overview of Vendor Services

A range of PaaS vendors exist on the market, from those allowing customization of existing software programs to fully functioning development and deployment environments. Add-on development environments focus on customizing existing software packages. Many vendors, such as Microsoft, sell add-on development environments in conjunction with their software programs.

Other options on the market include standalone development packages that provide customized programming environments. Application delivery platforms focus on supporting deployment of programs to customers, and may not include development features such as debugging and testings. More comprehensive packages offer end-to-end support from the programming environment to serving up software to the customers. Evaluate the full range of tools and services available from vendors, and look at their potential to scale support throughout the life of your project. An ideal vendor will be able to continue to partner with you as your company grows.

Choosing your platform provider is an important process. Start the selection process by mapping out your company’s needs and determining your budget. When considering options, look at online reviews, pay attention to stats such a server uptime, and ensure that the company’s technical support model meets your needs. If your company develops software or has staff programmers to customize existing software programs you own, cloud computing could help you achieve your goals on budget and in record time.