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An introduction to PaaS

In this article, we will explore Platform as a Service (PaaS), and the advantages of this deployment environment in the cloud.

What is PaaS?

Platform as a service (PaaS) refers to a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, with resources that enable you to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications.

You purchase the resources you need from a cloud service provider, such as Microsoft Azure, on a pay-as-you-go basis, and access them over a secure internet connection.

What does it involve?

Like IaaS, PaaS includes infrastructure—servers, storage, and networking—but also middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems, and more.

PaaS is designed to support the complete web application lifecycle: build, test, deploy, manage, and update. You manage the applications and services you develop, and the cloud service provider typically manages everything else.

Deciding to choose PaaS environments

Deciding whether to choose PaaS environments over IaaS and containers depends on the type of application, dependencies, and architecture.

Typically, if the application is written in more recent code, isn’t dependent on the configuration in the virtual machine, or is a web application, PaaS is a more feasible option. Regarding databases, PaaS might also be possible depending on how the databases are set up on-premises.

For some applications, you still might have to perform rework so that the application works with the PaaS solutions (such as storage or caching). PaaS does make it very feasible to scale out to multiple machines, which gives it an advantage over IaaS.

Scale-on-demand

One way to consider using Infrastructure as Code and PaaS environments are to identify your scaling requirements. If you need to scale on-demand, and the number of machines matters less, then you should use PaaS environments.

Azure platform services include the following offerings:

  • Azure App Service. This service allows you to create the following app types from a single development experience: Web Apps, Mobile Apps, API Apps, and Logic Apps.
  • Azure Service Fabric. This is a mature, feature-rich microservices application platform with built-in support for lifecycle management, stateful and state-less performance at scale, hybrid deployments, 24×7 availability, and cost-efficiency.
  • Azure Cloud Services. This service is designed to support applications that are scalable, reliable, and cheap to operate.
  • Azure Functions. This is a server-less, event driven experience that extends the existing Azure PaaS platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in other Azure services, SaaS products, and on-premises systems.

If you’d like to learn more about PaaS, check out the full online course, from CloudSwyft, below.

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