Is PaaS for you?

How to weigh the pros and cons of a Platform as a Service computing model


As with all cloud-based applications, using a third-party Platform as a Service (PaaS) computing model offers advantages and disadvantages. While the pros generally outweigh the cons, considering both sides is a wise exercise.

PaaS advantages

Cost savings

Because it allows companies to pay only for services they need and scale those up or down, PaaS offers major advantages compared with the cost of setting up, maintaining, and upgrading proprietary servers, operating systems, and software. The resulting savings—of an organization’s time, money, and human talent—can be reinvested in product development or other priorities.

Rapid coding

Rapid testing and deployment of new applications and products means shorter time to market, which translates into practical business wins. Dev teams can sandbox an app, test it in different environments, and fine-tune it faster than they ever could with on-prem servers and dev tools.

Multiplatform development

PaaS vendors often provide tools to develop apps across nearly every conceivable platform, such as mobile devices and desktop browsers, which makes creating apps that can live and work on many platforms faster, easier, and cheaper.

PaaS disadvantages

Security

PaaS can present security risks for personal and proprietary data. After all, you’re using shared servers and networks over the internet. Putting critical data in the cloud leaves companies reliant on the security standards and protocols of a vendor or multiple vendors. That said, cloud providers realize security is critical to their value proposition and are generally considered more effective than traditional in-house data centers at protecting a company’s data.

Infrastructure alignment

Some parts of a company’s existing infrastructure may not easily integrate with cloud services, requiring a switch to more compatible apps and programming languages. That can be a costly undertaking.

Unplanned downtime

A cloud provider unexpectedly going offline because of a power outage, hack, or unplanned maintenance issue can have a devastating impact on an organization’s customers, business operations, and, ultimately, the bottom line.