What is platform as a service and how can it boost your business?

By IBM Services

What is platform as a service?

Platform as a service (PaaS) is a label often applied to a particular type of cloud service model. In a PaaS model, a service provider offers access to a cloud-based environment where users can develop, manage and deliver applications, and the provider supplies underlying infrastructure. Additionally, users can use a suite of prebuilt tools to develop, customize and test their own applications. A PaaS model is different from an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model and a software as a service (SaaS) model.


The PaaS basics

Here are several key features of a platform as a service model:

  • Provides a platform with tools to test, develop and host applications in the same environment
  • Enables organizations to focus on development without having to worry about underlying infrastructure
  • Providers manage security, operating systems, server software and backups
  • Facilitates collaborative work even if teams work remotely ⁽¹⁾

Businesses best suited for a platform as a service model tend to be development companies and factories looking to incorporate agile methodologies. Platform as a service providers publish a variety of services that can be used inside applications. The models provide a simple way to test and prototype new applications. This helps businesses save money when developing new services and applications, and helps applications get released faster to aggregate user feedback.⁽²⁾

To offer some control of basic resource allocation, some platform as a service offerings blend in features of infrastructure as a service and software as a service while also providing off-the-shelf software capabilities. Remember that the hallmark of a platform as a service system is the ability for the cloud service customer to create and run applications and services to meet their specific business needs.⁽³⁾

While platform as a service can use the same features as infrastructure as a service and software as a service cloud services to offer some control of basic resource allocation on the one hand, while providing complete off-the-shelf software capabilities on the other. This can cause some confusion, but the hallmark of a PaaS system is the ability for the cloud service customer to create and run applications and services that meet specific business needs.


PaaS and Private cloud vs the public cloud

A cloud computing platform with scalability and self-service through proprietary architecture, the private cloud usually runs in dedicated environments that are deployed either on the client’s premises or off-site in a third-party colocation data center.  Enterprises can use platform as a service and infrastructure as a service through common services catalogs that give users more options, flexibility and accelerated development.  Infrastructure as a service must be developed using orchestration and provisioning technology and deployed in the private cloud environment.

The public cloud can consume platform as a service for workloads that are suitable for the cloud. Despite its simple guise, public cloud’s underlying complexities shouldn’t be disregarded, and even warrant security and resiliency considerations. Which workloads to migrate and which to keep on-site also warrant consideration. Fortunately, resiliency services can make determining this easier.


How IBM can help

IBM® Managed Platform as a Service (MPaaS) helps accelerate your business’s agility and performance with solutions for the provisioning, configuration and scalability challenges found in today’s hybrid infrastructure. 

Managed Platform as a Service enables quicker time to market with automated deployment of preconfigured business stacks of infrastructure and middleware stacks in hours along with managed services in a security-rich environment. Managed Platform as a Service helps you focus on what’s important for your business with automated provisioning; a management dashboard for monitoring, reporting and spend analysis; and a fully managed platform that scales up or down as your business needs change. And Managed Platform as a Service helps you save money by providing you with a pay-as-you-go structure that doesn’t require any upfront investment.

MPaaS also offers the following advantages:

  • Get more control over your services.
  • Gain better order management.
  • Enable greater pattern management.
  • Centralize activities through a portal.
  • Enable hybrid cloud management.

For more information about cloud services, hybrid cloud management and how to gain greater control over your service, order and pattern management, schedule a one-on-one with an IBM Managed Platform as a Service expert at no cost. IBM experts are here to help you get all the answers you need to move your business forward with confidence.



1. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – IBM Cloud service models, IBM Cloud

2. An IBM perspective: IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

3. John Meegan. A practical guide to platform as a service: What is PaaS?, Cloud Computing News, August 10, 2016