Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a Cloud service. It was developed to hide complex Cloud computing infrastructure from app developers so that the developers will not have to deal with virtual machines, network connections and other low level programming. See figure below (click image for full size).

If you don’t think that PaaS matters to you since you do not develop applications, you need to read on. The relevance comes from app usage. Do you use applications online or on your cell phone? Do your customers reach you online or with a phone app? Do your customers prefer to reach you through their mobile devices? If any of the answers are “Yes,” you want to know more about Cloud Services and PaaS.

PaaS is a young and emerging market with various definitions, implementations and has the possibility of locking into a specific Cloud data center. Being familiar with PaaS could help you improve productivity by choosing good applications.

This is an app world. We often use online applications to manage our life for such things as banking, scheduling, shopping, connecting, researching, schooling and parenting. Parenting? When the AT&T FamilyMap app was launched, we noticed a surge of traffic at midnight. Those of you who raised teenagers probably can relate to this. You called and then texted “It is midnight! Where are you?” and there was no response. This was the time that the AT&T FamilyMap came in handy. “Let me locate your phone and see where you are. Maybe I should drive there to visit you.”

Therefore, how an app was developed does affect you and your business. If you choose an app to run your small business inventory and it’s sitting in a “cloud wash” data center, you might run a risk of losing your inventory data if the data center was down or had been hacked. If you purchase an enterprise application for your organization, you want to make sure that you have a Cloud service that is sitting on top of a scalable and secured Cloud infrastructure. If you rely on an app to take care of your personal affairs, you will want to know the impact to you if it stops working.

Here are three questions where you need answers:

1. What database(s) does the PaaS interface with? (Is it easy to integrate with the database that you are using?)

2. What Infrastructure (IaaS) does the PaaS use? (Are you going to be locked into a company that is not reputable?)

3. Does the PaaS manage multi-tenant applications?

A Gartner study released on Oct 6th 2011 projected the worldwide revenue for PaaS would reach US$1.8 billion in 2015. The 2011 revenue was predicted to hit US $707.4 million, up from US $512.4 million in 2010.

You, as a consumer, can’t afford to be a novice.