In the beginning, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) was an easy to understand category of software, even if it wasn’t called Platform-as-a-Service initially. In its earliest incarnations, PaaS was a seamless if tightly constrained fabric which abstracted and made opaque the infrastructure running underneath it, from database to operating system. The promise to developers was, in strictly functional terms, serverless. No longer would developers have to concern themselves with operations minutiae like server instances. Instead, they deployed applications against a given platform and from there on out operations were, at least theoretically, the platform’s problem.
Since those first tentative releases in early 2007, PaaS has become more complicated to explain, both because the category itself has expanded its ambitions and because other, competitive layers of abstraction have emerged.
Read more at RedMonk