The acronym PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. PaaS is an extension of the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, which allows for the use of applications hosted remotely.
What is PaaS?
PaaS is a method by which an entire computing platform can be utilized remotely over the internet via cloud computing. PaaS provides a way to essentially outsource all of the infrastructure needed to execute a solution without the need to purchase and implement a new platform. This allows individual clients to share the same resources and avoid the costs of purchasing, maintaining, upgrading and troubleshooting the hardware and software were they hosted in-house. This service model typically allows clients to be charged only for the share of the resources they use, much like a utility company charging a homeowner per kilowatt hour. This can be especially useful for a business that requires a specific application it would only use on occasion.
There are several types of PaaS sevices. Add-On Development Facilities which customize current SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications, Stand Alone Development Environments which supply a generic development environment, Application Delivery-Only Environments which provide only hosting-level services and Open Platform as a Service, which provides an unconstrained development environment customizable by the developer.
PaaS typically allow users to develop, test and deploy applications in a single environment. Though application development life-cycle services may vary, the PaaS model allows for them to take place in the same platform within which the application will be deployed, allowing for dynamic user testing and updates. User interface tools are typically web-based allowing for ease of user accessibility as well as rapid end-user testing during various stages of development.
Likewise, this architecture allows for setting user permission levels and access to the source code to the development team. Development teams can be managed through provided productivity features such as permissions, action items, objectives, and allocation of ownership of specific project areas. Additionally, PaaS services can provide dynamic usage statistics, alerting the developer to who is using what and when, allowing for per-use billing and revealing what services are being utilized and which are not.