What is the difference between serverless and PaaS?
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7 min read Feb 2, 2024

What is the difference between serverless and PaaS?

Due to the rising demand for flexible and faster software development, business enterprises look for the latest platforms and advanced technologies to fulfill these demands. Solutions such as serverless and PaaS, or Platform as a Service, have become hot topics in this regard as they offer complete software development and deployment platforms within the cloud. Thus, they play an integral role in decreasing the different management responsibilities. While PaaS, or Platform as a Service, has garnered attention in the past few years, serverless computing is no less behind. Each comes with its own set of benefits, such as making the codes responsive and streamlined.

About serverless computing

Serverless computing technology has become the need of the hour as it helps decrease and removes the need for configuration and management needs from the development workflow. All you need to do is write down the individual functions, followed by their immediate deployment, without any extra software work or infrastructure building.

Such solutions are available in two primary offerings: backend as a service (BaaS) and function as a service (FaaS). FaaS is recognized as a widely used solution in this aspect as it provides higher scalability. Thus, it has become the prime choice for the developers.

As you opt for FaaS technology, the potential users can run the code in different stateless containers. Thus, it offers a suitable platform to the developers so that they can deploy and develop the code as it functions without the need to deal with different infrastructure configurations.

BaaS, or Backend as a Service, allows the developers to concentrate on the frontend without the backend functionalities, such as authentication, database management, and hosting. Thus, this form of serverless computing technology serves as the bridge between the backend solutions and the user-managed frontend solutions.

You can refer here to gain more information on serverless computing.

Reasons to opt for serverless technology and PaaS

Serverless computing allows the cloud service provider to manage additional functions such as scaling, bandwidth, and availability needs. Since it is based on the scaling model, you will pay for the resources you are using. Hence, you will be able to deploy the services and functions directly without the need for software and infrastructure configuration. Hence, you do not need to stress out about problems like bandwidth, availability, and scaling.

As you opt for PaaS technology, you will spend more time developing the applications and programs necessary to build the business. Hence, you do not need to spend a lot of time managing the applications and programs. With Serverless Application Development technology, you do not need to carry the hassles of app development. The functions will only perform.

What is PaaS?

PaaS is regarded as a cloud-based service that offers the prerequisite computing resources to the business for successful app development easily and faster. They provide different services, like system management, network infrastructure, storage, and virtual servers. Thus, you will have sufficient time to concentrate on other aspects of your business. It will allow you to deploy the latest applications efficiently and faster.

PaaS technology provides a bunch of key benefits, such as enhanced security measures, affordable and simpler resource management, better automation support, decreased workload, reduced monitoring and oversight, and a faster deployment and development roadmap.

Serverless and PaaS: Which one can you choose from?

Though serverless computing and PaaS share a similar look on the surface, they can keep the whole backend from the developers. However, it is necessary to choose the right one, as they include different crucial differences, such as tooling, price, startup time, and scalability.

Generally, PaaS offers enhanced control to potential users regarding the deployment environment. Though such tools offer scalability, users need to configure different scaling parameters. On the other hand, serverless computing scales automatically according to demand.

Let’s dig deeper into the differences between serverless and PaaS technology!


The serverless mobile applications function or app scales up and down automatically, according to demand, without interruption from the developer or the configuration needs. The PaaS solution offers scalability. However, it is essential for the potential user to configure the scaling parameters. It does not scale automatically, as per the demand. The nature of serverless apps indicates that they will scale down and up faster than PaaS solutions.


PaaS offers enhanced granular control over the infrastructure and application configurations. However, the serverless technology does not provide any kind of control. But it can be a benefit or drawback, which varies according to the needs.

As PaaS provides enhanced control, it becomes easy to debug and test the app and gain the prerequisite app logic needed. In addition, you will be able to use it to fine-tune the app at the infrastructure and app levels. However, you need to remember that such control adds to the enhanced complications of the deployment and development process, which will be mitigated through the use of serverless services.

Pricing structure

The serverless technology depends on a usage-based payment model. Here, the users will pay for the total count of the requests and the execution time. PaaS technology is dependent on the pay-as-you go model. Here, a specific flat fee is charged for the specific service, regardless of how little or how much you are using it. Thus, potential users can customize the resource needs and manage the costs of the PaaS solutions. But there will be no option to manage the pricing, depending on the usage dynamically.

Every service offers cost savings. However, the specific savings depend on the specific use case. The highly active serverless technology results in enhanced costs. You will be able to alleviate it by moving to the specific PaaS service along with the predefined resource allocation, which will not charge after usage.

Vendor lock-in

The business enterprises using PaaS services get locked within the PaaS service with no or limited options so that they can migrate to another service provider. You can migrate the serverless function between various service providers. It is due to the fact that the function gets bundled with the necessary dependencies. It does not depend on vendor-specific technologists.

  • The users can create the serverless function at another provider with a similar programming language.

  • After this, the potential users can deploy the function and start to use it immediately.

Application architectures

Serverless apps are easier and faster to start and run. But the primary disadvantage of serverless functions is the inability to support stateful apps and long-running processes.

The long-running process will result in cost constraints. But the potential users will need different mechanisms to handle the states between every execution. Hence, serverless technology is considered to be a more suitable option for microservice-based applications and event-driven architectures.

Launch time

It is possible to make the serverless apps active almost instantly, as the event triggers the app function. Though the PaaS-built apps are up and execute faster, they are not lighter in weight like the serverless apps. Thus, they will take more time to start and execute. To say no to latency from the perspective of the potential user, the PaaS apps function should be running all of the time, or the majority of the time.

Tools, serverless technology, and PaaS offer

PaaS developers are given improved tools for creating and managing apps such as tools for debugging and testing. As the serverless apps are not executed on certain machines, the serverless function will execute them. Though serverless vendors offer certain tools, they offer a total environment to create and test the app.

Final Thoughts

The Serverless Application computing technology provides a suitable opportunity to create individual functions without the need to program the full application. The PaaS technology, on the other hand, offers enhanced control. The serverless technology allows you to dial the service up and down. The PaaS technology is known to be extremely predictable.

Though PaaS technology happens to be a tried-and-tested concept, an ample amount of best practices and resources are available. Serverless happens to be an up-and coming technology. Each technology comes with its own set of unique strengths. After analyzing the above differences carefully, you can pick one that caters to your needs.

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