PaaS (Platform as a Service) is a somewhat overlooked cloud technology. SMBs with less intensive infrastructure needs often stick with SaaS (Software as a Service). Those with more significant needs often choose IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). There are, however, many benefits to using the middle-ground option of PaaS. Here is a quick guide to the main benefits of PaaS.
Before looking at the benefits of PaaS, it is worth recapping what exactly PaaS is. This will help to clarify the key differences between PaaS and its main alternatives IaaS and SaaS.
PaaS is essentially a virtual computing environment created to support development and deployment. It offers all the virtual infrastructure of IaaS plus everything that sits on top of this up to the level of operating systems and databases.
Most PaaS systems will supply tools for the development and deployment of software and at least some middleware. Middleware is essentially a way of extending the capabilities of an operating system. It supplies added functionality to a group of resources rather than just a single resource.
The key difference between PaaS and SaaS is that PaaS makes it possible for businesses to create their own software. SaaS just gives businesses access to software that somebody else has created.
At a high level, PaaS offers much the same set of benefits as cloud services in general. Here is a quick overview of the main one.
One of the biggest benefits of PaaS is that you can just sign up with a provider and get started immediately. You don’t have to allocate budget to buy IT equipment.
Using a third-party service may sound more expensive than running your own in-house infrastructure; however, it’s likely more cost-effective to use a cloud vendor.
The main reason for this is that even larger businesses are unlikely to qualify for meaningful volume discounts on anything. Cloud vendors, by contrast, are highly likely to qualify for volume discounts on just about everything they use for their service. They will usually pass at least part of these discounts on to their customers.
Another benefit of using cloud-based services such as PaaS is that it’s often much easier to link costs with business cycles. For example, if you want to pay a fixed fee all year round, you can usually do so. By contrast, if you just want to pay as you go, you can usually do that too. Alternatively, you can do a combination of both.
All cloud services have lower management overheads than on-premises architecture. This is mainly because they reduce (or eliminate) the need for businesses to have their own IT staff. The cloud-service vendor will generally manage a lot for the client. In many cases, other managed services providers will do the rest.
With that said, some cloud services create more management demands than others. PaaS is definitely on the less demanding side of the cloud range.
The main benefit of PaaS vs IaaS is that it is much less demanding on the user. As such it is much simpler. This means that it can allow businesses to work much more quickly. It can therefore shorten the overall time to market (internal or external).
With IaaS, the onus is on businesses to know exactly what they want from the ground up. This means that businesses do need to have a fairly in-depth knowledge of IT systems (or use a service provider that does). This is why IaaS tends to be compared to traditional on-premises infrastructure rather than PaaS.
Another key difference between IaaS and PaaS is that with IaaS the client manages their own data security. With PaaS, the vendor does. If you are confident about your ability to manage data security, you might prefer IaaS for this reason. For many businesses, having data security handled by a reputable vendor is probably a significant relief.
The main benefit of PaaS vs SaaS is that it offers a far higher level of customizability. Although the SaaS market is huge, it will probably never be able to fulfil every possible need. It’s even less likely to be able to do so both quickly and cost-effectively.
For this reason, many businesses are likely to benefit from a combination of SaaS and PaaS. They will use SaaS whenever they can for simplicity and economy. When SaaS is not suitable, however, PaaS will take its place.
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