Modern software applications can be incredibly complex. There are code libraries to maintain, create graphics, and follow regulations. Once an application is up and running, be it for internal use in your organization or for a customer-focused mobile iPhone or Android app, the real work begins. Businesses need to continually update the app to prevent security issues, improve features to meet customer needs (internal or external), and keep pace with the digital transformation in their respective markets. When companies are asked to maintain and update the app's surrounding platform – the operating systems, servers, networks, and computers involved ̵
This is where Platform-as-a-Service (or PaaS) comes in. As one of several cloud computing models in use today (along with the older SaaS (Software as a Service) model, the newer IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and many other models)), the PaaS To help organizations focus on software development or provide other services to customers without having to manage, update, and maintain the actual platform the application is on.
Understanding what Platform-as-a-Service is and how it benefits a business, it is important to understand how the idea came about. For many companies, the original concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) was essentially a proof-of-concept. This means that an application – such as a web-based e-mail, a business application, or even a word processor – runs entirely in the cloud. Enterprises have introduced SaaS as opposed to locally installed on-premise applications. In a sense, the cloud computing service was born because many of us used the cloud for the first time when we checked our web-based emails.
Platform-as-a-Service significantly extends this model. In the last decade, businesses have relied not only on cloud-based business applications, but cloud computing to run the software platform. PaaS is best understood in the context of how companies used to run applications before the cloud and how certain industries today benefit from Platform-as-a-Service.
(Incidentally, infrastructure-as-a-service is needed) This is a step ahead, it's more than the platform for an application, but the entire cloud computing infrastructure, including apps, storage, servers, networks and more, what is needed to run an IT department.)
Creating an application – for internal use or for customers – is often a two-pronged endeavor. To simplify the often very complex development process, it is true that every application includes both software and hardware. The application software includes the user interface, development framework, graphics libraries, databases, and many other entities that are all required to run the application. However, there is always a hardware component-the software must be installed, managed, maintained, and upgraded on a hardware platform, regardless of whether it resides in a local data center on servers and a local network or external cloud computing platform access for remote users.
It was not until 2005 that PaaS became a viable option, largely because of how cloud computing evolved, increased network speed, and improved device availability. IT service management dedicated to creating apps, as well as app development departments and companies, have quickly chosen PaaS because it facilitates most of the tedious tasks associated with the application platform. For example, organizations do not need to get new hardware and storage resources, they do not have to plan for capacity, they completely outsource most of the hardware and technology-related patches and maintenance they need.
In short, PaaS vendors have ushered in a new era in which companies can focus on what they do best – create the actual application and not worry about how it is hosted.
An example of how PaaS works
In the dark ages of technology, however, every application designed for internal or external use had to be housed in a local data center. Before the advent of the cloud, this meant that hospitals and clinics, auditing firms, media companies, and any other type of industry needed to become experts in IT in addition to experts in their chosen area. For example, if a hospital wants to develop an internal app for tracking patient records, internal staff must develop the app (including the user interface, the database, and all other aspects of the software) and also manage the servers and networks for cloud hosting.
It became a challenge because app development was complex enough – knowing the rules of the HIPAA (or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) makes these apps even more complex. Hospitals and clinics then had to maintain the platform, including all associated security patches, storage and networks.
Platform-as-a-Service eliminates this complexity, provides more flexibility, and relieves hardware management tasks of allowing a business to focus on what it does best.