Platform as a Service is a term that can be fairly confusing for many people. Normally the term is associated with Google App Engine from Google and Force.com from Salesforce.com as the main references for this model. From a technical point of view, it is aimed to provide a similar type of value to the one that is currently provided by many of the application servers i.e. it provides a generic container that can host different applications and shield them from the details of the underlying operating system, network, database implementation. Unlike most of the existing application servers it was designed for massive scaling from day one. Another big difference is in the way it is being consumed. With PaaS you don’t need to install any software and go through all the hoops to setup a cluster environment etc. PaaS is provided as a hosted service that is pre-configured and installed. You get a production ready environment right at the start.
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