Understanding how the PaaS model works

July 12, 2021
min read
Understanding how the PaaS model works
Marjorie Hajim
Marjorie Hajim

Cloud computing is growing at lightning speed and is fast replacing on-premises systems. In 2020, the cloud computing industry generated over 300 billion USD and looks to be waxing even stronger.

The backdrop of these statistics brings the three primary cloud services into view. Among the numerous cloud services available, the popular models include:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is the most popular of these three services. A 2018 study by IDG stated that 89% of companies use SaaS. However, we'll be mainly exploring how PaaS works in this blog post.

Many people tend to mix up PaaS and IaaS models due to the many similarities between them. However, they’re not the same. With a fundamental understanding of the PaaS model, you’ll be able to make the distinction yourself. Here’s everything you need to understand about how the PaaS model works.

What is the PaaS model?

The Platform as a Service model is a cloud computing solution that enables developers to rent everything they need to develop applications. A third-party cloud architect provides all the required hardware and software resources for application development. 

Developers simply host their products using PaaS infrastructure belonging to a third-party provider. They no longer need to have cumbersome in-house resources and tools before developing apps. 

Vendors will provide all of the resources and infrastructures for PaaS via the internet. Its availability on the internet makes PaaS easily accessible for anyone who needs it. 

You can easily search for the PaaS model you need on the internet and access it for a subscription fee. As such, you don’t need to install extensive development tools locally on a computer to host products on the cloud.

How does PaaS work?

Despite its similarities to IaaS, PaaS has a particular feature that differentiates it from other cloud computing services. PaaS is specific to product development. In other words, PaaS solutions are more suitable for software development purposes. IaaS and SaaS solutions come in a variety of options. But, PaaS can only accommodate few non-developmental processes like Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

PaaS functions as an online interface for delivering standard development tools. It removes the constraint of having to work solely from your work computer or a designated workstation. 

You can log in to the PaaS system from any device capable of accessing DevOps and the cloud. Therefore, you have the freedom to collaborate on projects, test new apps, and roll out completed products from anywhere in the world.

The following features are the main offerings of the PaaS model:

Development tools

PaaS vendors provide various tools for product development. Available tools include source codes, debuggers, and compilers. The vendors often make these tools available together in a framework. So, you only need to purchase access to the framework from the vendor to use all the tools. 

The specific tools available in the framework will depend on the vendor. However, the right PaaS framework should contain all the tools you need for software development. 

The provision of all the necessary tools in a single framework quickens project delivery time. All the tools in a single place facilitate a continuous integration process with little to no stoppage in the workflow. 

However, there is a slight downside. Depending on your choice, PaaS frameworks always have all the necessary tools but may not include additional apparatus that suit your preferences.


We often depict the three primary cloud computing services in layers, with IaaS at the base and SaaS at the top. The PaaS model is in the middle of the other cloud computing services. But as we stated before, it's closer to the IaaS model. So, you may be able to gain access to some of the offerings of the IaaS model via a PaaS model. Therefore, we can view PaaS as a simplified version of IaaS.

It becomes easier to avoid digital transformation mistakes with each step up the cloud computing service pyramid. It’s possible thanks to the reduction in the complexity in each subsequent layer. SaaS is the least complex of the cloud computing services, while IaaS is the most complex. PaaS is in-between and just the right level of complexity for most developers.

Operating Systems

PaaS vendors also provide and maintain the operating systems on which developers create their products. The product applications will also run on the PaaS operating system the developers used to create them. 

Usually, the operating system comes as part of the PaaS framework along with other tools. Other times, the operating system may come in a separate package. 

PaaS can also serve as a delivery mechanism for communications. It enables developers to add special features such as a phone dialler, video, and messaging to applications. 


The middleware is the software that acts as a bridge between user applications and a computer operating system. Therefore, a cloud computing middleware is an interface connecting the user interface and the cloud. 

It conveys input from the hardware to software, e.g., from the keyboard to the application software. Most PaaS frameworks include a middleware so that developers don't have to source them from elsewhere. 

Database management

PaaS is also an on-demand, scalable, self-service platform. PaaS simplifies the provisioning, administration, and maintenance of databases for developers. 

PaaS vendors provide database administration and maintenance services. They also offer database management systems to enable developers and non-technical personnel to manage the platform effectively. 

The future of app development - PaaS

We're going to a future where almost anything will be achievable via the internet, and PaaS will be a major player in that development. PaaS applies not only to computers but also to handheld and other IVR supporting devices. So, you can expect to find all types of applications hosted on the cloud using PaaS.

PaaS also has the potential to leverage the growing trend of cost-effective support for web developers. This way, it enables developers to use Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. In doing so, PaaS also fulfills its primary function of making cloud computing product development easier for users.

About the author:

Marjorie Hajim is the SEO Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a leading cloud communications company that provides VoIP and video conferencing services. She develops and executes strategies for short-term and long-term SEO growth. In her spare time, she loves reading books at coffee shops and playing with her dogs.

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