What is PaaS (Platform as a Service)?

A Communications Platform as a Service or PaaS is a cloud-based service that eliminates the cost and complexity of developing real-time communications applications. A PaaS provides cloud-based software development tools, standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) and sample code to streamline application development. Independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators (SIs) and service providers can leverage a PaaS to accelerate time-to-market for communications-rich applications and services.  Enterprise IT organizations can leverage a PaaS to communications-enable business processes or customer-facing applications––quickly and cost-effectively.

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What is PaaS: Functions

A communications PaaS is a rich communications application development environment delivered in the form of a partitioned cloud-based platform that is remotely hosted, secured and managed by a specialized service provider.  The PaaS provides all the tools and services required to develop real-time communications applications or to embed real-time communications capabilities into web-based applications, mobile apps or business processes.

A typical communications PaaS provides:

  • A complete development framework that supports all forms of real-time communications including voice, video, text chat, screen-sharing and presence
  • A comprehensive software development kit (SDK) and Java or .NET run-time libraries for building applications on a variety of mobile and desktop platforms
  • Standards-based REST APIs for embedding real-time communications into web-based applications
  • Sample code and pre-built applications to jump start development
  • Carrier-class availability and 7X24 operations and customer service
  • Extensive product documentation and support capabilities

what is PaaS

PaaS Advantages

Quite simply, a communications PaaS helps development teams save time and money.  The advantages of using a communications PaaS include:

  • Rapid time-to-market: developers gain instant access to a complete software development environment with sample code and pre-built apps
  • No CAPEX: no upfront capital expenditures are required; the full development environment resides in the cloud
  • Elastic services: most providers offer pay-as-you-grow pricing models so development organizations can tightly align licensing fees with service usage
  • Future proofing and investment protection: new features and capabilities are instantiated automatically in the cloud (as are bug fixes)
  • Security and multi-tenancy: the platform is fully partitioned; each development organization operates in a secure, virtualized environment
  • Peace of mind: many PaaS providers offer highly reliable services and round-the-clock support
  • Improved business focus: developers can focus on core business initiatives rather than underlying IT infrastructure


Relationship to SaaS and PaaS

In cloud computing, the PaaS construct is part of a layered model for delivering applications and services.

The IaaS layer provides the underlying compute, storage and networking resources required to instantiate cloud-based applications and services.  The PaaS layer provides the development environment for creating the applications and services.  The SaaS layer refers to the cloud-based applications and services consumed by end-users. In the communications industry, a SaaS offering is often referred to as a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution.