PaaS (Platform as a Service) : Everything you need to know

November 19, 2020
PaaS (Platform as a Service) : Everything you need to know

Are you looking for information on the subject of PaaS? Do you want to know what a PaaS is?

Then you've come to the right place! This is a very detailed article about PaaS, also called Platform as a Service.

In this article, we will not only define what a PaaS is, but also go into detail and explain the differences between a PaaS, an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) or a SaaS.

In addition, if you hesitate to turn to a PaaS, we will give you the advantages and disadvantages.

Finally, to make your work as simple as possible, we will also detail the advantages and disadvantages of turning to a Platform as a Service.

Are you ready? Let's get started!

For information, we are a PaaS. If you would like to receive more information about our services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

PaaS definition: What is a PaaS?

A PaaS also called Platform as a Service is a cloud computing service that allows you to develop and deploy web applications entirely in the cloud.

Therefore, it means that if you turn to a PaaS like Scalingo, you will have no infrastructure and no servers to manage to host your application.

As we will define in this article, a PaaS adds up the services offered by an IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) and a SaaS (Software as a service), which we will explain in detail a little later.

Finally, PaaS are entirely managed in the cloud. This means that your data is saved in the cloud and also that you pay per use according to your needs.

PaaS allows you to avoid the numerous server and software expenses since everything is managed directly in the cloud. But we will tell you more about this later in our section on the advantages of a PaaS.

What does a PaaS contain?

A PaaS includes the entire infrastructure, i.e. servers, storage and network components, as well as BI (Business Intelligence) services and database management systems.

As an example, here is the dashboard of our PaaS on which you can see everything a PaaS allows you to do.

PaaS Scalingo Dashboard

Here is the list of what makes up our PaaS :

  • The Metrics section contains all the decision support tools, including the number of requests per minute (RPM).
  • The Add-Ons part allows you to manage your databases as well as your add-ons such as your VPN.
  • From the platform, you can directly manage your deployments and code.
  • Autoscaling (on request) : Autoscaling allows you to automatically scale your app according to the metrics you define beforehand.

Simply put, a cloud hosting platform takes care of everything, so you can focus on the code and your product!

The Platform as a service has many advantages and that's what we're going to introduce you to right now.

The advantages of a PaaS

Here are the advantages of a PaaS which are generally the most popular with our customers.

Saving time

Save at least 20% of your developers' time.

This is the first advantage of a PaaS and cloud hosting. Indeed with a Platform as a Service like Scalingo all the Devops and system administration tasks are entirely managed by the platform and you can concentrate on the code of your application.

As pointed out by one of our customers, the Dernier Cri web agency, switching to a PaaS like Scalingo allows them to save 20% of time spent on Devops for their developers.

Similarly, the Home Ciné Solutions team, which sells Hi-Fi accessories, has managed to increase its sales by 50% without increasing the time spent on system administration.

You can read all the testimonials on our customer page.

The time saved with a PaaS and cloud hosting is therefore extremely valuable and will be decisive for your growth.

With a Platform as a Service, you can focus on your code and you don't need to invest time for system administration.

Much faster development!

In addition, by saving time, you also have the opportunity to accelerate your development and deployment speed.

With a PaaS, you will no longer need to manage servers or your infrastructure since everything is managed by the platform itself.

As a result, each developer can finally devote himself to developing your applications or websites, which considerably accelerates the speed of development.

Generally our clients multiply their delivery pace up to 100 times faster.

Manage your teams of developers wherever they are located!

Another advantage of a PaaS is that it gives you the opportunity to host your applications and data in the cloud.

The first consequence is logical: you can manage a team of developers from anywhere in the world since everything is online! With the advent of telecommuting this is a significant advantage!

Automatic backups of your data.

Turning to a PaaS is like having a team of infomanagers and system administrators in your Startup, for the cost of a subscription to an online service.

A PaaS will also automatically backup your databases. Indeed, on Scalingo, database backups are automatically made, which simplifies your work even more and allows you to sleep peacefully!

As Sylvain Gauthier, the founder of Baqio, an accounting system for winegrowers, points out, turning to a PaaS "is like having a team of IT managers and system administrators in your Startup, for the cost of subscribing to an online service".

Scalability according to your performance

The advantage of cloud hosting and a PaaS is also that it allows you to quickly increase your capacity according to your needs.

Indeed, the cost of the cloud infrastructure adapts to your growth!

The disadvantages of a PaaS

As Scalingo is a PaaS, we do everything we can on a day-to-day basis to reduce the disadvantages of a platform as a service.

In this part, we will therefore detail in all transparency what is sometimes reproached to the PaaS and we will explain how Scalingo responds to it.

The number of programming languages

Some PaaS are sometimes criticized for limiting themselves only to certain programming languages.

As a result, this can quickly become blocking since you will have to adapt your application to the languages offered by the platform.

**How does Scalingo respond to this?

At Scalingo, we have chosen to offer our cloud hosting solution in more than 50 different technologies.

Whether you want a hosting for a Node application. js, a Ruby on Rails hosting, a Python hosting, a PHP hosting or any other framework or language you can do it on Scalingo.

You can consult the list of languages and frameworks on the following link: Scalingo Technologies

Moreover, at Scalingo we have chosen to turn to Buildpacks. Thanks to this open-source technology we are able to host any kind of technologies or frameworks!

Moreover on Scalingo, you will also find the main databases available on the market (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, InfluxDB).

The choice of the provider

When you choose a PaaS, you are committing to a long-term relationship with another company that will fully manage your servers and infrastructure.

Therefore, it is important to choose this company as well as possible to make sure that you can trust them in the long term.

**How does Scalingo respond to this?

At Scalingo, we already have several hundred customers and have been in existence since 2015. So we are well established in the market with customers from all over the world.

These customers include startups such as Chargemap but also key accounts such as Île-de-France Mobilités.

In addition, we have chosen to offer high availability databases (99.5% SLA) in our business plans. Your applications will be secure on Scalingo!

In addition, our customer service is of high quality with an average response time of 5 minutes.

If you are not yet convinced, you can read the customer testimonials.

Here are also some Facebook posts from our customers who have had to deal with our customer service.

How does a PaaS like Scalingo work?

Scalingo's mission is to bring a touch of magic to development teams.

Therefore, we want to save precious time by providing tech teams with a fully automated platform that allows them to host all their web projects in any language and with any database.

To switch to a PaaS like Scalingo, all you have to do is create an account and then create your first application. You will then have access to your dashboard that allows you to consult your metrics and especially to deploy your code.

What's more, you can scale automatically as you grow without having to worry about anything.

PaaS vs IaaS vs SaaS: What are the differences?

To start with, here are the definitions of the different terms:

PaaS: Platform as a Service IaaS: Infrastructure as a service SaaS: Software as a service

A PaaS, as explained above, will take care of the infrastructure and server management with many software included in the price, so that you only have to dedicate yourself to coding your application.

The IaaS, infrastructure as a service, will only provide you with the infrastructure part that will be hosted in the cloud and that you won't have to manage.

Finally, a SaaS is a software usually installed in the cloud to which you can have direct access without having to configure it yourself. Tools such as Salesforce, Slack or Jira are therefore SaaS.

You've understood that SaaS is the services provided by a SaaS and an IaaS so that you only have to devote yourself to the code!

To better understand here is a graphic that explains in detail the differences between these 3 types of cloud:

Comparison IaaS PaaS SaaS

Image by Redhat

How to choose between a PaaS, IaaS or Saas?

You will have understood it if you have arrived so far in this article: PaaS is the one that offers the most functionalities and will allow you to concentrate as much as possible on the code of your application or your website.

Before turning to a PaaS, you should of course check a few points such as the presence of the programming language you are using (Scalingo offers more than 50 different languages and frameworks) as well as the reliability of the PaaS you want to work with. But for that we let you consult our next section on how to choose your PaaS.

How to choose your PaaS ?

At Scalingo, we offer our Cloud Hosting platform to more than 500 different customers. For more than 6 years, we have been discovering the most important elements to choose a PaaS.

Here are the 4 criteria that we advise you to look at when choosing a Platform as a Service:

The quality of customer support

When you commit to a PaaS, you start a long-term relationship as you outsource your infrastructure to another company.

Therefore, at Scalingo we make customer support our priority. Our average response time is 5 minutes.

In addition, all our customers emphasize the availability of our customer service and the quality of support. Please read our customer testimonials to learn more!

The availability rate of the platform.

When you host your web applications, you want to do it on a platform that will be as available as possible to ensure that your customers can use your service at any time.

At Scalingo, we offer a high availability cloud platform (99.9% SLA) and if our availability is lower than our promises we will refund you.

Moreover, you can consult at any time and in full transparency the availability of our platform on the following link: Disponibilité Scalingo.

Data protection with a PaaS like Scalingo

By migrating your website or application to an as a service platform, you are also migrating a lot of data and it is normal that you want to be sure that this data is in a safe place.

As an example at Scalingo, we are committed to protecting your data and respecting RGPD.

It is best to quote one of our customers, Markus from Company Mood:

We appreciate that Scalingo is also committed to data protection and compliance with current European laws.

In addition, we are a French company and all our operations are based in France. If you were looking for a PaaS, you've found it!

The availability of your programming language

If you have chosen a programming language, it seems logical that you will want to continue working on this language when you migrate your applications.

Before turning to a Platform as a service, you should therefore check that this language or framework is available on the PaaS you want.

For information at Scalingo, we offer more than fifty different languages and we hope that you can easily find yours!

You can consult our technology page to know all the languages, framework and database we host.

Why turn to a PaaS for your company or your Startup?

Whether you are a medium-size company, a startup or even a large company, a PaaS can meet your needs.

It's a good thing, all these types of customers are included in our portfolio! Indeed, our solution can be adapted to any size of company.

First of all, you can decide to turn to a Platform as a service to save time for your team or yourself by reducing the time spent on devops tasks.

In addition, a PaaS will also allow you to manage your growth since you can scale up according to your traffic peaks.

Finally, a Platform as a Service like Scalingo will give you the possibility to leave your data in a safe place in compliance with RGPD laws.


Now you know exactly what a PaaS or Platform as a Service is. In this article, we have tried to detail as much as possible the functionalities of a PaaS and all its advantages and disadvantages.

If you want to work with a PaaS, don't hesitate to register on Scalingo or even to contact us if you wish!

To complete your knowledge about cloud hosting, you can have a look at our article about serverless.

Cover photo of Matthew Smith from Unsplash

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Yann Klis
Yann Klis
Yann Klis co-founded Scalingo. Scalingo's vision is to offer a european sovereign cloud housting platform for developers. Today Scalingo hosts thousands of web applications from customers located all over the world. Before that Yann founded Novelys a web studio specialised in Ruby on Rails technology.

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