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Application platform as a service (aPaaS), or simply platform as a service (PaaS), is a cloud computing service model, along with software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It provides end users with the hardware, operating systems, storage or network capacity they need over the cloud to be able to run existing applications or develop new ones.
Products like EngineYard, VMForce and the Google App Engine cloud all offer aPaaS. PaaS provides hosted software applications to customers with low cost of entry or even for free. It simplifies the technical aspects of creating and deploying applications because it's easier to maintain, it's scalable and it's tolerant to faults, enabling users to focus on other thing. PaaS provides many advantages for end users. For example, the operating system can be enhanced and upgraded frequently and all at once, development teams that are geographically separated can work together on software development projects through the cloud, and services can be accessed through various media and from anywhere in the world.
Although PaaS offers several advantages and benefits, there will always be some kind of downside. One is that PaaS involves some risk of vendor lock-in, which refers to users' inability to use their applications from one platform in another vendor's platform, especially if the platform requires exclusive service interfaces or specific languages. Another potential disadvantage is that the flexibility of the service may not meet the needs of some end users.