What Is PaaS? (Definition, Types, Benefits and Drawbacks)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 21, 2021

Cloud computing services are important for maintaining the technological infrastructure for various company operating systems. Third-party services like Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers can help companies enhance their use of essential technology in the workplace. Understanding how you can use a PaaS can help you implement one to optimize your work processes. In this article, we discuss what a PaaS is, describe its uses, list the types of PaaS and explain the benefits and drawbacks of using one.

Related: What Is Cloud Computing? (With Usage Info and Benefits)

What is a PaaS?

PaaS is an acronym that means "Platform as a Service." It's a third-party, cloud-based platform that can provide users with app development frameworks, business intelligence tools and additional app enhancements. The services provided by PaaS companies include tested operating system frameworks and coding for app developers to use when creating software. A PaaS service provider builds these frameworks and manages them during and after the app development process to ensure that each app functions properly. While the PaaS system maintains and updates app system frameworks, you can customize them to suit your app requirements and data.

Related: PaaS vs. SaaS: Definitions and When To Use Them

Uses for PaaS

You can use a PaaS when developing an app to manage back-end program processes so you can focus on the front-end user experience of the app. Your PaaS service provider can maintain and repair hardware and hard drives and handle network or server outages. A PaaS also manages coding language stacks, middleware, operating systems, program runtime, servers, storage, virtualization and network connectivity. PaaS management ensures the optimization software and hardware for your app by maintaining, updating and repairing your framework and coding.

Related: 11 Benefits of Cloud Computing

Types of PaaS

The types of PaaS include:

  • Artificial intelligence PaaS: Artificial intelligence PaaS systems feature pre-trained machine learning models for developers to build their artificial intelligence software. These PaaS-provided frameworks are customizable and may include speech recognition or speech-to-text capabilities.

  • Integration PaaS: Integration PaaS systems specialize in merging various apps. These integration features include connecting app data and coding services through the cloud, which is accessible from any device, to make linking apps with other platforms easier.

  • Communications PaaS: These systems can add communication features to an app. These features include voice calling, video calling and direct messaging within your apps, which can help enhance user engagement.

  • Mobile PaaS: Mobile PaaS focuses on developing apps that function properly on mobile devices. Its features include low-code methods for developing apps for touchscreen devices, such as drag-and-drop components.

Related: 9 Types of Cloud Computing (With Definition and Tips)

Benefits of PaaS

Here are the key benefits of implementing a PaaS in the workplace:

Automated maintenance

PaaS services provide the hardware and software that companies need to maintain the code of an app. You can work with a third-party PaaS provider to manage the maintenance and updates for your apps. Part of this service can include implementing, securing and testing your app before launching it and integrating the app across a variety of devices and platforms.

Cloud integration

Using a PaaS, authorized users and app developers can log in from any device to access their development project with remote teams. The cloud-based service also allows for easier migration, which can help you integrate your app across operating systems. Using cloud-based software makes your app more accessible to developers, which can help them implement further adjustments and integrations.

Optimized development

PaaS services provide you with the system framework and coding for your apps. You can customize these provided frameworks or build your app for use across different mobile and desktop devices. Having a provided framework can reduce the time necessary to complete the development of an app. This can allow you to launch an app faster and create apps more frequently.

Assistance with scaling

Since PaaS services build and manage your app framework, they can help you scale an app. For example, a PaaS could aid a smaller-sized app in providing larger system storage and accommodating a growing number of app users. Scaling is an important part of improving your app and ensuring that it can manage a higher level of user engagement.

Drawbacks of PaaS

Here are some of the challenges of implementing a PaaS:

Coding discrepancies

Some PaaS services may support some specific coding languages that differ from the ones your app uses. It's important to check that the supported coding languages of the PaaS match your intended coding language for your app. A PaaS provider typically lists the supported languages and any excluded languages, which can help you identify which service aligns best with your app's needs.

Development control

Since a PaaS system is a third-party service, it may affect the control you have over service downtime or feature discontinuation. A PaaS provider may also use an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider to manage data storage, which can impact the privacy of your app's data. To decide which provider may work best for you, research reliable and well-known PaaS providers by reading user reviews.

Storage space

A contract with a PaaS provider often includes a certain amount of storage space and details about specific service source capabilities you can use. Using features such as adding users can require more storage, which may slow down your app systems. When looking for a PaaS service to use for your app development, evaluate how much storage you need and your expected app growth to make sure that the PaaS system can adapt to your needs as your app scales.

Varying features

Each PaaS service provider has distinct features for its system frameworks and maintenance capabilities. It's helpful to determine what types of PaaS features you need and considering how you plan to use them. Then you can research different providers and their service features to identify what you can customize and request in your service contract. This can help ensure that the provider you choose fulfills your system usage requirements.

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