A solution stack is a cloud hosting term that you’ll run across, especially if you are shopping around for a platform-as-a-service provider to handle your basic software infrastructure needs. So what does it mean?

A solution stack is a bundle of essential software that is pulled together from several subcomponents, usually unrelated, in order to provide one fully functioning software solution. Microsoft has been known to provide solution stacks for businesses for years. In fact, most of its business products are solution stacks – Microsoft Office, for instance.

Microsoft has another type of solution stack as well. It’s called WINS.

WINS consists of the Windows operating system, a web server solution called Internet Information Services, the .NET programming language and SQL database management software system. This solution stack is very popular among Windows users and is one of the leading solution stacks in the PaaS category.

For Linux users, LAMP serves as a viable solution stack. LAMP consist of Linux as the operating system, Apache as the web server, MySQL as the database management solution and PHP as the programming language. Alternatively, Perl or Python may be used instead of PHP.

Both Windows and Linux have alternative solution stacks available. In fact, you can substitute any of the individual components of the solution stack with another component and create your own solution stack.

MAMP is a solution stack for Mac OS users. It is comprised of the following components:

  • Mac OS X
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP/Perl/Python

Almost any business can benefit from one of these solution stacks, but there are many more available on the market, including an open source solution stack called OpenACS.