Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is a type of offering in which a service provider delivers a platform to clients, enabling them to develop, run, and manage business applications without the need to build and maintain the infrastructure such software development processes typically require.

As with other cloud services such as and software-as-a-service (SaaS), PaaS is offered via a cloud service provider’s hosted infrastructure. Users typically access PaaS offerings via a web browser.

PaaS can be delivered through public, private, or hybrid clouds. With a public cloud PaaS, the customer controls software deployment while the cloud provider delivers all the major IT components needed to host the applications, including servers, storage systems, networks, operating systems, and databases.

With a private cloud offering, PaaS is delivered as software or an appliance within a customer’s firewall, typically in its on-premises datacenter. Hybrid cloud PaaS offers a mix of the two types of cloud service.

with PaaS environments. A legitimate question for IT to ask is will the PaaS it chooses interoperate with its current and future IaaS and SaaS deployments?

Another risk with PaaS is when the service provider’s infrastructure experiences downtime for whatever reason, and the impact that might have on services. Also, what if the provider makes changes in its development strategy, programming languages, or in other areas?

Don’t expect these possible hurdles to keep you from taking the plunge into PaaS. It provides more flexibility precisely because the vendor handles the platforms while you handle the programming.