Platform as a Service, PaaS is one of the forms of cloud service that is offered by cloud computing providers.
On this form of cloud service, the provider delivers hardware capability and software tools over a wide area network, WAN which is most commonly the Internet.
For this cloud service, the provider hosts the software on its hardware and gives access to the users.
The advantage of this is that the PaaS users do not need to install and maintain the software on their own hardware which they may need to upgrade to run the software, especially if it is advanced software for a specific task.
One of the issues with running software on your own computer is that it can sometimes be inconvenient or difficult to upgrade the software. It may not install properly, or there may be other issues, especially if the hardware is a little older. These issues can be overcome by using Cloud Platform as a Service as the hardware and software will be maintained to the required standard, with the provider resolving the upgrade issues.
Using Cloud Platform as a Service
Paas does not replace the IT infrastructure of a business, but instead the business will use the PaaS service for some key services or applications.
There are many examples of how PaaS has been used for a variety of applications - there are software accounting packages that use PaaS. Data is entered onto the system from a computer, smartphone or whatever is convenient. The software uses a web browser environment for the user, but the main software is run on the provider's hardware platform. It is here that the calculations are undertaken, the data for the individual users is stored etc. Tax returns, etc can be made from wherever the user may be situated provided that a browser is available - preferably a secure browser! - and the work is done on the provider's platform.
The Cloud Platform as a Service, PaaS, provides a resilient and optimised environment which users can access. Rather than running the software on a variety of platforms with different operating systems, the PaaS provider can optimise the system on which the software itself runs. The user then needs to have a much simpler interface which is typically a web browser.
Advantages & disadvantages of PaaS
Advantages of cloud IaaS
Some of the main advantages of cloud platform as a service are below.
- Convenience: It can be far more convenient to use a PaaS application than one for which the software has to be downloaded, the hardware maintained to a specific level and the operating system on it maintained to a given level as well. By using PaaS, the hardware of the provider is sued to run the application ,data is stored on their storage and the software will be the most up to date. It makes using advanced forms of software that might need updating regularly, very convenient to use.
- Reliability: As the software runs on the provider's hardware, the system should be available virtually all the time.
- Accessibility: Often when using PaaS, it is possible to access the application in any location. The level of hardware needed to run the software is also not an issue, so it can make mobility far easier.
Disadvantages of cloud IaaS
Some of the main disadvantages of cloud platform as a service are below.
- Security: As the application requires an Internet connection to connect the user to the PaaS provider, this can present a security issue. Secure connections must be used as well as adequate login credentials. IN addition to this, users must be trained not to adopt any practices that could allow unwanted or malicious users into the system.
- Requires an Internet connection: By the very definition of a PaaS application, it needs to be accessed remotely. This requires the sue of an Internet connection. Although connectivity is available in most places, this may not always be the case. Additionally Internet connections can fail and therefore this needs to be accommodated in any planning.
- PaaS reliability: Normally the PaaS provider will provide a reliable service. The reliability of the PaaS platform could be specified in any service agreement to ensure that all issues have been covered.
Cloud Platform as a Service, PaaS, offers a very convenient and powerful way forwards for using many applications. It can be used for everything from accounting software to more heavy duty applications like some development environments. For whatever application, the concept of PaaS could provide some distinct advantages, but bot advantages and disadvantages need to be taken into account.
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