8 ways to explain Platform as a Service (PaaS) to a five-year-old

Cloud SaaS

by Duncan MacRae| 17 July 2014

The definitive definition of Platform as a Service (PaaS) from the experts for the kids (and adults, too).

Gary Calcott, technical marketing manager, Progress

"Imagine you get to run your own production line to build your very own sports car. Instead of filling out lots of long boring forms, all you need to do is press a few buttons on your computer to select whatever colour, shape or speed you want and the robots do the rest!"

Angela Eager, research director for TechMarketView

"It's a really quick way of making something like a new computer game of your own because someone else does all the boring bits and makes sure they are ready whenever and wherever you want to use them on your computer, so you can do the fun bits of inventing the story and the characters, then playing the game."

Lee Norvall, CTO, Fusoin Media Networks

"You have built your Lego house with everything a house needs, but it is empty. Now your little sister has seen it and she want to play with it. She takes the little Lego people and starts 'deploying' them, making them do little 'services' and tasks like delivering the milk, mowing the lawn and cleaning the windows. Just what a house needs."

John Coldicutt, head of KashFlow

"Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a way of working or playing on a computer where you have everything you need to play games and work on that computer in one place. It is similar to being given a stack of building blocks and deciding what you want to build with it. You are given everything you need to help you to build what you want and if you built something like a car or a boat you will have lots of help to make it move or to float."

Zahid Jiwa, VP UK & Ireland, OutSystems

"Using PaaS, customers can modify existing apps or develop entirely new apps that meet the needs of their industry and business. PaaS offerings facilitate the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software stacks. PaaS offerings may also include facilities for application design, development, testing, deployment, monitoring, and management, as well as other services. In essence, PaaS is a development platform that abstracts the infrastructure, operating system and middleware to drive developer productivity.

Dr Kevin Curran, senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

PaaS is a web based platform service for making the creation of software easier. It provides computing platforms including operating system, virtualistion, storage, programming language execution environment, database, web server. This makes software development easier. Examples include Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk and Windows Azure."

Len Padilla, VP Product Strategy, NTT Europe

Let's think about the different types of cloud platforms as if they were toys or games. With PaaS you have some basic rules (the platform), but still plenty of freedom. It's like Minecraft - there are building blocks and rules to follow, but you can build almost whatever you like (you programme it).

Kevin Scott-Cowell, CEO of 8x8 Solutions

"Platform as a Service means you pay someone to look after your laptop or iPad that you need in order to run the computer games and programmes you use. So you can just concentrate on playing the games and don't have to worry about ever having to fix the programmes or your laptop or iPad if they go wrong."

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