Operating the IT department of a company seems too technical, not to mention very costly. Computing resources will vary depending on the size and type that you need for your business regardless of its nature. This approach can be a very practical and cost-efficient strategy if you wish to minimize operational cost and maintenance.

With cloud computing, there’s no need to pay for something that you won’t be using. You are still able to access as much resources as you need but you only need to pay for those that you will use. With such concept, you can now have a simpler yet effective way of accessing various applications, storage, servers, and databases. Cloud computing is an innovation that can make you save more on hardware investments. You also no longer need to spend so much time managing and lifting the hardware.

The term cloud computing is actually inspired by the cloud symbol that’s normally seen in diagrams and flowcharts. A cloud can either be public or private. Public clouds are those offering their services to anyone who can access the internet, while private clouds are data centers or proprietary networks that can only be accessed by a certain crowd or authorized persons.

What is PaaS?

PaaS or Platform-as-a-Service is one of the three categories of cloud computing. In this particular model, software and hardware tools will come from a third-party provider. These tools are usually those that are commonly needed and used for application development. When you employ or hire the services of a PaaS provider, it means that your software and hardware will be hosted using the provider’s infrastructure. Because of this, you will no longer need to install an in-house software and hardware before you could run or develop a new application.

However, though, it is worth noting that PaaS will not in any way take over the entire infrastructure of your IT. What will actually happen is that your business will be relying on the provider to host key services like Java development. As a result, you can focus primarily on how to create and run applications instead of going through the complicated process of constructing and maintaining everything else.

Most of the products and services offered by PaaS are oriented toward software development. You can avail of services like text editing, compute and storage infrastructure, and version management. With its presence, your team is also able to work and collaborate together virtually.

What is the difference between PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS?

As mentioned, cloud computing has three categories – PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS. Each category serves a specific purpose, although if you haven’t fully encountered these terms yet, you may find them confusing and hard to differentiate from one another.

IaaS or Infrastructure-as-a-Service works by hosting infrastructure components that are available in data centers within the premise. This includes networking hardware, storage, and servers. While doing so, IaaS also serves as the main supplier of a variety of services that will go with those infrastructure components that are provided. Some of these services are load balancing, storage resiliency, detailed billing, log access, monitoring, and security.

As a customer, you can access these services and resources through a WAN or wide area network like the internet. Once you have access, you can start installing the remaining elements that you need for your application stack. Generally, customers will pay IaaS services each time they are using it. It could be on a per hour basis, weekly, or monthly. You may also be charged depending on how much virtual machine space you have consumed for a specific time period.

Software-as-a-Service or SaaS, on the other hand, is a distribution model that’s almost related or similar to software delivery models such as the ASP or application service provider. In this cloud computing category, a third-party provider is responsible for hosting the customer’s software, and also delivering it to end users who are approved to access it over the internet.

When to use IaaS, PaaS or SaaS?

As a business owner who barely knows everything about these cloud computing services, how do you know when to use each of them, or all of them? It is important to fully understand each category so as to not to confuse one with another.

  • IaaS

Being the most flexible model, IaaS is a crucial factor in developing and deploying the two other models, PaaS and SaaS, as well as other web-scale application. The network capability and cloud storage that it can provide are not only metered, but can also be self-provisioned.

  • SaaS

SaaS, on the other hand, is recognized as the most user-friendly since consumers are quite familiar with it. Utilizing SaaS applications may help in reducing software ownership cost as you no longer have to hire or employ a team that will foresee the management and upgrading of software.

  • PaaS

PaaS falls under the category that’s lower than SaaS. It also provides a platform that can be utilized by the software whenever it needs to be developed and employed. WIth this clouding service, you will be more flexible with time management, as well as scalability and the development of applications that you use for the business.

PaaS pros and cons

As with any other kind of services and products, PaaS has its own share of pros and cons. The most recognizable advantage is of course the convenience that it gives to its consumers. The model is simple and easy to use, and the infrastructure is easily accessible through a web browser.

Another benefit of this model is the mode of charging or payment that they implement. Since it’s only on a per-use basis, business owners no longer have to raise capital expenses for on-premise software and hardware.

What seems to be a concern is probably the dependability that it can offer in case service outage occurs. When the infrastructure is disrupted, the customers and their productivity will be negatively impacted.

Leading PaaS Vendors

With several PaaS vendors and providers available in the market, how do you know if one brand will suffice for all your cloud computing needs? It will greatly help to know first about the latest leading PaaS vendors so that you will have an idea so what a competitive provider is.

If you’re looking for public PaaS, some of the leading names are Microsoft Azure, Salesforce Heroku, Engine Yard, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk. For enterprise PaaS, you can check Red Hat OpenShift, Apprenda, and Pivotal CF.