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I’m familiar with SaaS, but what is PaaS?

Roger Frederick's Profile

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Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

Platform as a Service.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

In PaaS, you are using the cloud for more than just your ERP/CRM software. It is a way to rent hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity over the Internet. The service delivery model allows the customer to rent virtualized servers and associated services for running existing applications or developing and testing new ones.

Topic Expert
Joan Varrone
Title: CFO
Company: Cloud Cruiser
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Cloud Cruiser) |

PaaS is platform as a service and the definition provided is correct. Many start ups are able to operate for lower costs as they now rent servers and bandwidth as they need it. Amazon , Google and others have a PaaSv service.

Jim Burtt
Title: Director Global Financial Systems & Proc..
Company: formerly at Guidewire Software, Inc.
(Director Global Financial Systems & Processes, formerly at Guidewire Software, Inc.) |

More SaaS vendors are offering PaaS so that their customers can extend the capabilities of their applications, e.g. - ERP, with functionality that the vendor does not want to develop themselves. From a software perspective, the platform is an OS, a set of tools they offer developers for programming, which are supposedly compatible with their SaaS applications. The critical thing to verify is whether any code you develop on the platform is forwardly compatible, i.e. - is guaranteed to be supported through future releases by the vendor. This has the huge advantage of entirely avoiding the cost of upgrading. With old ERP systems, upgrade costs associated with porting customizations to newer releases are so sizable that they frequently dissuade customers from upgrading at all.

The platforms are only as good as the dev tools they provide and the objects they build out, so be sure to investigate the power of the tools and their data models. PaaS enables customers, SI's, and VAR's to design long-tail applications in which the vendor does not see a strong enough ROI case. If done right, it can accelerate feature development around the application.

You should make a conscious decision to invest in a PaaS because it does involve lock-in. Also be careful not to develop custom code for which third-party solutions already exist because you are going to own and maintain it for its life.

Topic Expert
Donald Koscheka
Title: Principal
Company: Bluecloud Communications
(Principal, Bluecloud Communications) |

Examples of Paas are Microsoft Azure and Amazon's EC2 service. The value of PaaS is that allows you to acquire computing capacity without needing to invest in everything you need to use that capacity such as facilities, personnel and utilities. The BIGGEST advantage of PaaS is that it allows you to avoid the 'overcapacity problem' - most companies invest in IT infrastructure to address their highest capacity (like online sales at holiday time). Most of the rest of the time, their IT equipment is mostly idle - which means that they have invested capital that is not working at full capacity. PaaS allows you to scale up and down as your business needs dictate, making it a more cost effective approach for a lot of solutions.

I'm willing to bet that most firms, if they checked, would find the economic utility of their IT plant to be well under 50%. In no other part of the company would we tolerate such an inefficient use of capital!

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