Note: This blog post is a companion piece to an infographic we recently published. To see the full version of the infographic click here.
What is PaaS? infographic by Morpheus. Click here to see the entire graphic.
Platform as a service, or “PaaS”, applies the utility model to data management, promising more efficient and more focused IT operations by allowing development teams to focus on the “top of the stack”: the applications and data that distinguish your company in crowded markets and give you an edge over the competition.
Businesses use technology to convert information into knowledge, knowledge into action, and action into achievement. Applying information in a way that helps you reach your organization’s goals starts by asking the right questions. In the rush to the cloud, many business decision makers are asking, “What is PaaS?” But, maybe that’s not the right question.
Sure, you need to know that the underpinnings of the services you contract for are rock-solid – today and into the future. But what PaaS is matters less to your business’s bottom line than why PaaS is a good option for your company’s app and data management. Ultimately, how to implement PaaS to best effect for your specific needs becomes your primary concern.
The nuts and bolts of PaaS matter less to business decision makers than the potential the technology offers to improve not only app development and deployment, but also the efficiency and speed of your entire IT operation. After all, avoiding the cost of buying, managing, and maintaining hardware and system software is the cloud’s major claim to fame.
In the beginning of the cloud era, there was infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which replaces the data center with a utility-style pay-as-you-go model. Not only do you save the cost of networking, storage, servers, and virtualization, you also avoid having to pay for the staff expertise required to keep the data center running. With IaaS, the customer supplies the OS, middleware, runtime, data, and applications.
Infrastructure as a service replaces in-house hardware and system software with a utility-like pay-as-you-go model, while PaaS adds middleware, runtime, and database software to the utility model. Source: Redgate, Simple Talk.
PaaS moves even more of the generic, plug-and-play components of your company’s data center to the cloud’s on-demand service model: the middleware, runtime, and database components. This allows you to focus your time, energy, and budget on the “top of the stack,” the applications and data that distinguish you from the competition and provide your edge in the marketplace.
PaaS users are liberated from having to manage or secure the underlying cloud infrastructure, including the network, servers, operating systems, and storage, but they retain control over their deployed applications and the configuration settings for their applications in the hosted environment. For example, cloud app management platform Morpheus features an intuitive interface that allows end users to provision databases, apps, and app stack components in just seconds on any server or cloud, whether it’s on-premise, private, public, or hybrid.
The PaaS provider is responsible for provisioning and managing the lower-level infrastructure resources, as well as for supporting the upper-level managed application development and deployment platform.
Because developers are completely abstracted from the lower-level details of the environment, they can focus on rapid development and deployment. They need not be concerned with such matters as scalability, security, and the other components of the stack’s lower layers, all of which are managed by the PaaS provider. Similarly, by supporting a range of runtimes, PaaS allows developers to retain control over the application’s deployment and maintenance.
On the continuum from IaaS to PaaS to SaaS, the required level of skills broadens from a handful of high-priced experts to the universe of everyday end users. Source: James Staten, Forrester Research
PaaS complements other cloud-based operations, such as mobile and web apps. It promises to reduce operational costs and increase productivity by reducing time to market.