The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defined platform as a service (PaaS) in its 2011 definition of cloud computing:
The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider.3 The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly configuration settings for the application-hosting environment.
A PaaS cloud provides a toolkit that is designed to serve large numbers of users, process very large volumes of data, and can be accessed from any point on the Internet for easy creation, deployment, and administration of application software.
- Application developers, who design and implement an application's software.
- Application testers, who run applications in various (possibly cloud-based) testing environments.
- Application deployers, who publish completed (or updated) applications into the cloud, and manage possible conflicts arising from multiple versions of an application.
- Application administrators, who configure, tune, and monitor application performance on a platform.
- Application end users, who subscribe to the applications deployed on a PaaS cloud: to end users, access to applications is the same as using a SaaS cloud.
The use of the PaaS cloud provider's tools and execution resources to develop, test, deploy and administer applications.
Typically, fees are calculated as a function of the type of customers (e.g. developers vs. end users of the application), plus utilization of storage, processing, or network resources consumed by the platform, number of requests served, and the amount of time the platform is in use.