Alternatively referred to as data center hosting and hardware as a service, PaaS is short for Platform as a Service. It is a blanket term describing infrastructure (a "platform") managed by a third-party company, and provided to users for use. The infrastructure may include servers, networks, and operating systems, hosted by a third-party company or located on-site at a customer's business. PaaS is considered to be a form of cloud computing.
PaaS can be used for a short period of time or for long periods of time. Providers of PaaS usually have multiple plans available, at a monthly or yearly cost.
Typical uses of PaaS include the development of applications without needing to pay for infrastructure where development can be done. Businesses use PaaS to host the applications used in the day-to-day work without needing to purchase and manage the infrastructure.
With PaaS, businesses save money on the costs of the infrastructure needed to run the business. They do not need to hire computer technicians to manage and maintain computer hardware and computer networks. Users of PaaS have multiple platforms to perform development of software, helping to ensure compatibility of the software across platforms.