What Is PaaS?  |  Google Cloud (2024)

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What is Platform as a service (PaaS)?

Platform as a Service, also known as PaaS, is a type of cloud computing service model that offers a flexible, scalable cloud platform to develop, deploy, run, and manage apps. PaaS provides everything developers need for application development without the headaches of updating the operating system and development tools or maintaining hardware. Instead, the entire PaaS environment—or platform—is delivered by a third-party service provider via the cloud.

PaaS helps businesses avoid the hassle and cost of installing hardware or software to develop or host new custom applications. Development teams simply purchase pay-as-you-go access to everything they need to build custom apps, including infrastructure, development tools, operating systems, and more.

The result is simpler, faster, and secure app development that gives developers the freedom to focus on their application code.

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Platform as a Service defined

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a complete cloud environment that includes everything developers need to build, run, and manage applications—from servers and operating systems to all the networking, storage, middleware, tools, and more.

How does PaaS work?

Unlike IaaS or SaaS service models, PaaS solutions are specific to application and software development and typically include:

  • Cloud infrastructure: Data centers, storage, network equipment, and servers
  • Middleware software: Operating systems, frameworks, development kits (SDK), libraries, and more
  • User interface: A graphical user interface (GUI), a command line interface (CLI), an API interface, and in some cases, all three

Platform as a Service is typically delivered as a secure online platform that developers can access over the internet, allowing them to work on projects from anywhere and collaborate freely with other members of their team. Applications are built directly on the PaaS system and can be immediately deployed once they are completed.

Benefits of PaaS

The most common benefits of PaaS compared to running and maintaining your own environment include:

Faster time to market

No heavy lifts required. Developers have instant access to a complete application development platform that they don’t have to build or manage, freeing up time to develop and deploy.

Low maintenance

In-house application stacks come with headaches, especially when it comes to upgrades. With PaaS, the provider is responsible for keeping everything up-to-date—and none of the maintenance pain is yours.

Cost-effective pricing

PaaS resources are on-demand, so you only pay for what you actually use. A PaaS also provides access to advanced development tools and capabilities that might be too expensive to purchase outright.

Easy scalability

No more worrying about capacity. PaaS lets you scale down for low-traffic periods or scale up immediately to meet unexpected surges in demand.

Flexible access

Development and DevOps teams can access shared PaaS services and tools from anywhere and on any device over an internet connection.

With PaaS, the provider is responsible for securing the infrastructure. Most major PaaS service providers also offer guidelines and best practices for building on their platforms.

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Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as Service (SaaS) are the three main categories of cloud computing service models. Each type of cloud computing provides organizations and individuals with fully managed resources over the public internet—from storage and virtualization to hardware and software to applications. The difference between them is which resources you manage and which are managed for you.

“As a Service” generally refers to a cloud computing service that is fully managed by a third-party cloud service provider. Understanding what you want to manage (and what you don’t) is one of the most important steps on your journey to the cloud.

Based on the service type you choose, the service provider is responsible for managing different elements in your computing stack:

  • IaaS: The service provider gives you on-demand access to infrastructure services, including compute, storage, networking, and virtualization. You manage everything else—the virtual machines, operating systems, middleware, apps, and your data—but there is no need to maintain or update your own data center infrastructure.
  • PaaS: The service provider delivers and manages all the hardware and software resources needed for application development. You write the code and manage all the apps and data, but you do not have to manage or maintain the software development platform. PaaS manages more resources higher up the “stack” to further reduce the operational burden on developers and IT operations teams.
  • SaaS: The service provider delivers and manages the entire application stack—from the hardware infrastructure all the way to the application itself—through the internet. All updates, bug fixes, and other general maintenance to all components are handled by the provider. All you have to do is connect to the app.

Related products and services

Google Cloud Run is a serverless, fully managed PaaS solution for container-based development that gives development teams an easy place to build and run highly scalable containerized applications. With Cloud Run, developers don’t need to know anything about how to start, scale, or manage container infrastructure—the PaaS takes care of it all. It also includes built-in security tools, such as vulnerability scanning, dependency analysis, and frameworks to support source provenance and attestation.

Cloud Run enables you to write code in your favorite language, abstract away infrastructure management, and deploy apps in seconds. Plus, Cloud Run automatically scales up and down from zero depending on traffic—and you’ll only pay for the exact resources you use.

Cloud Run Write code your way using your favorite languages and deploy your apps on containers.

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What Is PaaS?  |  Google Cloud (2024)


What is PaaS in cloud computing? ›

Platform as a Service defined

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a complete cloud environment that includes everything developers need to build, run, and manage applications—from servers and operating systems to all the networking, storage, middleware, tools, and more.

What is an example of a PaaS? ›

Popular examples of PaaS include Quickbase, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Boomi.

What is difference between IaaS and PaaS? ›

The most distinct difference between IaaS and PaaS is that IaaS offers administrators more direct control over operating systems, and PaaS offers users greater flexibility and ease of operation. IaaS builds the infrastructure of cloud-based technology.

What is the difference between PaaS and SaaS cloud? ›

PaaS, or platform as a service, is on-demand access to a complete, ready-to-use, cloud-hosted platform for developing, running, maintaining and managing applications. SaaS, or software as a service, is on-demand access to ready-to-use, cloud-hosted application software.

Is AWS a PaaS? ›

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform provided by Amazon. It includes a mixture of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and packaged software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

Is Azure A PaaS or IaaS? ›

They are IaaS since Azure Storage Services provide the fundamental building blocks for cloud-based applications and services, where you get raw storage capacity (like a hard drive in the cloud) and are responsible for how you manage and utilize that capacity.

Is Netflix a PaaS? ›

Netflix is considered a SaaS by many people because it lives in the cloud, is delivered through the browser, and has a paid subscription model. However, the service Netflix provides is content and not software. It is more of a "Movies-as-a-Service" than a SaaS.

What are the three types of PaaS? ›

There are three main types of PaaS: public PaaS, private PaaS and hybrid PaaS. In addition to them, we can also list communications PaaS, mobile PaaS, open PaaS, as well as integration platform as a service (iPaaS), database as a service (DBaaS), and middleware as a service (MWaaS).

What is PaaS in simple terms? ›

Platform as a service. Platform as a service (PaaS) is a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, with resources that enable you to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications.

When should we use PaaS? ›

PaaS solutions can be used to develop software for internal use or offered for sale. PaaS technology offers a company virtual infrastructure, such as data centers, servers, storage and network equipment, plus an intermediate layer of software, which includes tools for building apps.

Is Snowflake a SaaS or PaaS? ›

Snowflake and SaaS, Paas, and IaaS

Snowflake Data Cloud allows you to run all your critical data workloads on one platform, including data sharing, data lake, data warehouse,, and custom development capabilities, in effect also serving as a data PaaS.

Is EC2 a PaaS or IaaS? ›

IaaS works primarily with cloud-based and pay-as-you-go services such as storage, networking and virtualization. Examples of popular IaaS providers include: AWS EC2.

Is Netflix A SaaS? ›

Netflix is indeed an SaaS company that sells software to watch licensed videos on demand. It follows a subscription-based model whereby the customer chooses a subscription plan and pays a fixed sum of money to Netflix monthly or annually.

Is PaaS better than SaaS? ›

Solution: Rather than choosing a ready-made SaaS solution, Company A decides instead to use a PaaS solution. This is because the product they are selling requires extensive customization. The AI-driven customization solution is cloud based but is not something that can be easily added to a SaaS solution.

Is Salesforce a PaaS or SaaS? ›

The Salesforce Platform is the world's number one Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. It's the most powerful way to create your app and get it in front of your users fast, all by harnessing the power of the cloud.

What is PaaS in AWS? ›

AWS PaaS. PaaS (Platform as a Service) combines servers, stockpiling, and organization framework with the product you want to send applications. PaaS eliminates the need to invest in on-premises hardware and the anxiety associated with creating a virtual environment in which to run your apps.

What is PaaS commonly used for? ›

Organizations typically use PaaS for these scenarios: Development framework. PaaS provides a framework that developers can build upon to develop or customize cloud-based applications. Similar to the way you create an Excel macro, PaaS lets developers create applications using built-in software components.

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