Platform as a Service: A Basic Overview

Cloud Computing Platform as a Service

Many businesses and related organizations are now turning their gaze at cloud computing and all the possibilities that it brings. One of the services that can be offered through the cloud is Platform as a Service (PaaS). This is essentially delivering a computer platform over the web. PaaS is considered as the most confusing service among the many that is available. It can sometimes be hard to identify and is often mistaken for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The defining aspect of PaaS is that it allows developers to create and deploy web applications on a hosted infrastructure, meaning that it allows users to leverage the seemingly endless computing resources of that a cloud infrastructure can provide.

Cloud computing is not just for network administrators but it brings a lot of new possibilities for the software development and quality assurance teams. A lot of problems and complications arise during a software/web application development life cycles. Before development could even start on a new environment, a web server and a development environment where the developers can work needs to be procured and installed. After that individual workstations are then setup which includes installing operating systems, source code control repositories, run time environments and a host of other middleware that may be essential for web or software development, then these needs to be configured. After that, existing code has to be copied over to the new repositories or systems and then test them if they work or not so that the developers can work on top of that. Most often, there is only one administrator for all of this, who sometimes is already stretched quite thin.

In the case that you are using PaaS instead of hosting our own development environments and platforms, all developers and testers would have virtual machines (VM) in their workstations which contains the server environment and may be passed around within a single flash drive. PaaS provide ease of use and stability to developers needing an easy and hassle free solution for developing in new platforms.

PaaS tend to center around a development language and methodology. Enterprise developers are able to easily select tools and languages which fir their preferences like Java, .Net, or Ruby on Rails. The platforms are promising efficient coding by automating the tedious tasks like setting up newly finished apps as a real Web service. PaaS is sometimes paired with IaaS as some developers need proper database and web hosting for their applications.

By Abdul Salam

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