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August 2021
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Public, private, or hybrid—explaining the 3 main types of PaaS

types of paas

Platform as a Service (PaaS), and the various types of PaaS, constitute one of the three main cloud computing models—the other two being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). PaaS provides developers with a platform to develop, deploy, and run applications, and its main goal is rapid development. 

I have mentioned in some of my previous articles that cloud computing is a complicated subject. And the fact that each cloud computing model brings a whole set of different types of solutions, contributes to the level of complexity. 

If you are not quite familiar with PaaS, IaaS, or Saas, I recommend you check out the following two articles where I explain everything you need to know on the main characteristics, pros, and cons of the three cloud computing models:

Types of PaaS

There are three main types of PaaS:
– public PaaS
– private PaaS
– hybrid PaaS

Those three main types have given birth to quite a few spin-offs as well. Here are three of the most popular:
– communication PaaS
– mobile PaaS
– open PaaS 

the three main types of paas and spin-offs

While each type has some individual characteristics, they all share the main characteristics of a typical Platform as a Service, namely: 

  • providing an infrastructure—servers, network, storage
  • bootstrapping and deploying servers—install and configure OS, install the desired runtime, as well as install security patches and keep them up to date.
  • providing middleware services—database, messaging service, cache storage, etc. The types of middleware provided always depend on the choice of PaaS and its implementation.

In order to clear up the air a bit, let’s have a look at the three main types of PaaS, as well as their spin-offs, and explain their use and individual characteristics. 

Public PaaS

Public PaaS solutions are best used in the public cloud and allow users to control app deployment while the vendor delivers and manages all major infrastructure components, including servers, operating systems (OS), databases, storage, etc. 

An interesting characteristic of public PaaS is how PaaS and IaaS run together. Public PaaS vendors provide middleware that allows users to configure and manage resources—like, servers and databases—without having to set up the required infrastructure. So, PaaS is using the public cloud and runs on top of the vendor’s IaaS. 

The downside of this is that public PaaS users are locked in when it comes to the public cloud provider their PaaS vendor is using. This is one of the main reasons why big enterprises are reluctant to adopt a public PaaS solution.

Private PaaS

Private PaaS solutions are best used—yes, you guessed it—in the private cloud. Private PaaS vendors put the emphasis on security and compliance, keeping the agility benefits of the public PaaS. Private PaaS runs on any infrastructure and works within the user’s private cloud. 

Private PaaS vendors deliver their solution as software within the user’s firewall which is most commonly managed on their on-prem infrastructure. Putting the emphasis on security, private PaaS solutions allow developers to build, deploy, and manage their applications while also staying compliant with security and privacy requirements.

Hybrid PaaS

Hybrid PaaS solutions run in a hybrid cloud and are highly flexible as they combine the benefits of public and private PaaS, and offer the ability to own internal infrastructure in private PaaS.

Communication PaaS

Communication PaaS solutions—or CPaaS—are cloud-based platforms that allow users to add real-time communication features to their applications. As a rule, real-time communications are added using backend infrastructure and interfaces, since these features are normally seen in apps that are built for communication purposes, in particular—for example, messaging and video calling applications. 

CPaaS makes the difference by providing users with an all-in-one development environment to build real-time communication features for their apps. It is also common for CPaaS to include software development kits( SDK) and libraries to assist developers build apps on desktop, as well as mobile platforms. 

Mobile PaaS

Mobile PaaS—or MPaaS—is the simplest of the types of PaaSwe’ve seen so far since it does not require any coding skills. Mobile PaaS users utilize a paid integrated development environment (IDE) in order to configure mobile apps. MPaaS solutions also offer a drag-and-drop interface that significantly simplifies the development of HTML5 or native apps. 

The use of mobile PaaS solutions can be very cost-effective as it eliminates the need for in-house mobile app developers and dedicated IT support. 

Open PaaS

Open PaaS solutions are open source and can run on all devices. Open PaaS provides web apps for business-oriented collaboration—for example, calendars and mail apps—and works best for applications using the hybrid cloud. 


Did this clear up some of the confusion around the various types of PaaS? Choosing a solution is definitely a complicated task but education is everything! 

If a public, all-in-one PaaS is the best solution for you, why not check out Artifakt? We are here to help developers deploy, host, and manage web applications on enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure. Reach out to us or request a demo to see how we can help you scale your business. 

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