What is PaaS? Platform-as-a-Service Types Explained

Shraddha Singh

Sep 5, 2019

There’s no single Platform-as-a-Service for every use. Even the description of this cloud computing model is entirely unclear to many. Often, PaaS is described as a cloud hosting platform. That includes a set of deployment and scaling automation, application management tools and DevOps tools that can run on shared or n-premises infrastructure. This cloud computing model also gets rid of the complexities in building and maintaining its underlying infrastructure.

Let’s us first understand how Platform-as-a-service differs through the prism of their use cases and supported technologies, also how to determine if PaaS will meet your specific business needs.

Let’s analyze Platform-as-a-Service solutions from three main angles:

  • Purpose
  • Abstraction
  • Functionality
    what-is-paas
  1. Purpose-Driven Categories of PaaS

    Today’s cloud hosting vendors bring innovative approaches to PaaS application development and its hosting in the cloud. It is done by offering various tools built specifically for a particular service. Considering use cases hosted within Platform-as-a-Service solutions, we can break down PaaS offerings into three broad categories:

    • General-purpose

      General-purpose PaaS platforms are widely approached for N-tier applications and traditional stateful web. Thus, they offer a “lift and shift” approach for shifting existing workloads. Besides, General-purpose PaaS type is timely expanding with advanced technologies. Specifically, the ones that meet the needs of stateless cloud-native applications and microservices. This helps in developing highly scalable and fault-tolerant cloud services.

    • Emerging

      Emerging PaaS hosting models are proposing new approaches to the market. They are commonly used for enhancing independent services based on emerging technologies, such as serverless, distributed event processing and machine learning frameworks.

    • Specialized

      Specialized PaaS products focus on small niche use cases but with high demand on the market. Such platforms have proved to be effective in different directions including e-commerce, big data processing and business applications. Often, these platforms are transformed into subcategories such as eCommerce-as-a-Service, Content-Management-System-as-a-Service, Database-as-a-Service, Business-Process-as-a-Service, etc.

  2. Abstraction Levels of PaaS

    The present-day PaaS solution models are focusing on full-cycle automation of delivery processes and application deployment. This way, developers can efficiently focus more on application design and its implementation. Instead of focusing on a time-consuming, complex task & routines. Such as server and storage configuration, the security of application and infrastructure, auto-scaling, load balancing, and others. There can be considered three levels of PaaS abstraction:

    • Low PasS abstraction level:

      The CaaS (Container-as-a-Service) solutions in the low abstraction level platforms, allow DevOps teams in-depth access to infrastructure configurations. Also provides access to granular control over containers and various platform services, such as load balancing, service discovery and logging security.

    • Mid PaaS abstraction:

      The primary goal of Mid PaaS abstraction level is to let the developers code without stressing over configuration and management of the PaaS infrastructure. These platforms provide developers access to a wide range of optimized and integrated development frameworks, middleware software stacks, APIs and services. Completely abstracted from CaaS and IaaS deployment properties. Very often, such PaaS solutions provide automatic scaling, load balancing, high-availability, backup, disaster recovery, CI/CD, and other application lifecycle management features.

    • High PaaS abstraction:

      The main aim of high abstraction level PaaS solutions are too abstract coding processes to increase the application delivery speed and to reduce the total cost of development. This way, the developers get the entire technology stack along with full abstraction of application, platform and infrastructure. High abstraction level helps to boost the performance of the team and reduces requirements to their technical skills.

  3. Functionality and Services Integrated to PaaS

    PaaS contains a collection of configuration tools to automate the application lifecycle management processes. It also represents continuous integration, delivery services, connectors and plugins to popular IDEs. Here we have highlighted three main approaches for this category:

    • Deployment Automation

      PaaS concentrates on providing tools and services for deployment automation by extending “one-click” or “git-push” functionality. As well as pre-configured environments for code building, project management tools and continuous integration.

    • Infrastructure Management

      PaaS Cloud models focus on security and performance checks, infrastructure configuration, cost optimization, health and availability monitoring, as well as providing automation and services related upgrades.

    • Container Orchestration

      Container management platforms provide functionalities to solve challenges faced in the containerization process and during the implementation of the cloud-native approach for new or existing applications. Many PaaS cloud vendors now offer CaaS(Container-as-a-Service) as an integral component of their products. Further, it reinforces the view of PaaS as a collection of different DevOps tools.

Benefits of PaaS for your Business

  • Simplifies the complexities
    With PaaS, it is simple for businesses to install in-house hardware and software to run or develop a new application. PaaS does not replace the entire infrastructure of your business. Instead, it provides various key services, such as application hosting or Java development.
  • Higher Flexibility, Agility and Speed
    Businesses can rely on PaaS for better flexibility, agility and speed for the development process. PaaS provides a predictable, application infrastructure, because of which businesses don’t get stuck down with enabling applications and can meet their customers’ needs.
  • Zero maintenance
    PaaS in cloud computing offers all the upgrades and management of both hardware and software applications and tools so that users can focus only on growing their business.
  • High Network Bandwidth
    The deployment process of a web app needs to perform testing to see how it performs in different frameworks. This test often results in a network-wide slowdown, but with the use of PaaS service, the entire testing process can be done on the cloud computing servers.
  • Better Performance and Scalability
    Cloud services can be used to meet the growing IT system requirements of your business and improve its scalability. Regarding the business performance, it is the PaaS vendors responsibility to ensure that customers services run without any hurdle. PaaS provider also has to provide them with the ability to access their resources via dashboards for better performance.
  • Selecting the right PaaS for business
    Several important points should be noted before selecting a PaaS model for an organization.

    Firstly, analyze whether the chosen PaaS model supports the technologies, middleware stacks and programming languages that are used by the development teams in your organization.

    The second most important thing to consider is vendor and data lock-in. Despite all the benefits, some PaaSes offer access to the used application and middleware stacks. This offer can be minimal due to proprietary design services and tools. This feature affects the portability of the application. So migrating to other clouds or approaching to implement multi-cloud interoperability becomes a real challenge. This issue applies to the stored data as well. Hence it is essential to ensure that the selected PaaS provider would allow to import and export data without any lock-ins.

    People say that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” technology for every business project. But in the modern cloud world, with all interconnections and integrations available, the gap between specific products are blurring out. Jelastic Multi-Cloud PaaS offers the freedom of choice required when it comes to cloud services, container management systems and DevOps tools.

    You must give our Jelastic Multi-Cloud PaaS a try. Start your free trial to improvise the development, productivity and application delivery processes for your business with zero investment.

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