A rising number of organizations across multiple industries have their hardware and software components including servers, storage, frameworks, tools etc. delivered via the internet. It has become feasible thanks to the development of cloud computing services that are described by SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions.In order to cut down costs and speed up the progress of web applications, many organizations are implementing Paas practices.
But what exactly is PaaS? Put simply, Paas or Platform as a Service enables developers to focus on developing their product rather than dealing with the nitty-gritty of infrastructure management. The primary benefit of PaaS is that it gives you access to all the essential frameworks and tools required for web application development. You don’t have to worry about setting up your own servers and installing the software yourself. It completely removes the need for server virtualization, security risks, and management of maintenance.
In this blog, we will highlight the platform as a service model, the pros and cons of PaaS along with recommendations for your business to choose from.
What is a PaaS Model?
A report from Statista suggests that the public cloud Platform as a Service has been growing exponentially in recent years. In 2019, the market revenue was worth $22.6 billion.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an integrated cloud-based runtime environment with services that enable users to create both simple as well as advanced applications. The model is a “pay-as-you-go’ model and supports secure network connections whereas clients monitor programs and services they build on the platform. The PaaS service is build to support a full lifecycle of a web application including:
PaaS comprises of:
- Physical Infrastructure – data centers, servers, storage, network equipment etc.
- Intermediate software – operating systems, libraries, languages, frameworks and tools.
- User-Interface – a graphical user interface (GUI), a command line interface (CLI).
Apart from that, PaaS resources can offer extra services like database management systems, business analytics and planning which aids decision making.
Which businesses should choose PaaS?
How do you determine if your business requires this model of cloud computing and not SaaS or IaaS? Some of the common things are:
- Your business needs customized applications.
- Availability of developers to build, test and deploy applications.
- No budget for developing and managing a physical infrastructure.
More importantly, Platform as a Service is a perfect opportunity for startups, small and medium businesses for two primary reasons:
- It significantly reduces the cost.
- It eradicates the risks that come with acquiring and managing software licenses and basic infrastructure maintenance.
We have identified what PaaS is and who should choose PaaS. Lets begin with the advantages of Paas deployment.
Pros of PaaS
Before shifting your IT infrastructure to the cloud, it is important to consider the pros and cons of PaaS and understand the value it offers to your organization. Let us begin with the pros.
Statista has conducted a survey with chief information officers to divulge the main reasons why businesses adopt cloud technologies. The below graph shows enhanced availability and strength as the primary reasons for cloud adoption.
When working on a PaaS system, actual savings are realised as you do not perform low-level work yourself and you do not need to hire additional staff or pay for additional hours. It is not a necessity to:
- Buy hardware and separate tools.
- Spend hours on setting up the core stack.
- Spend time on maintaining the stack.
- Pay for additional expenses during downtime.
Hence, a business can prevent a range of direct, indirect, and hidden costs along with building and managing its platform. You no longer have to spend money on buying software licenses and maintaining servers in your data center. It also has a better cost structure compared to SaaS deployment because you control everything in your environment instead of having it given by the service provider. This gives your business much more flexibility in terms of customizing your application as per your needs. Furthermore, the model sticks to the pay-as-you-use payment approach, which enables maximum savings.
With PaaS, all you need to do is create a new application and upload the source code to the cloud server. The platform will handle all details for you such as deploying, scaling, and load balancing. It also takes care of things like security patches. You no longer have to worry about securing your own system; that’s the platform’s job.
Paas deployment enables rapid development and deployment cycles because you are not spending time setting up infrastructure or maintaining servers (for example, patching servers). Rather, you can focus on developing your application without worrying about security.
Better Time to Market
The improved speed of development and deployment is one of the most common business advantages of PaaS in cloud computing. As developers have access to multiple automated tools and technological innovations, they can speed up app development. So, the app development lifecycle is decreased when compared to the conventional approach, and more new products can enter the market faster. It is one of the main advantages for any organization.
If you install your application on a self-built stack, you should bear in mind the components that are required to be updated and integrated regularly to compete with other businesses. The primary risk of this approach is that you may lose the current enhancements & new features and keep working on an obsolete stack, which is insecure.
PaaS experts regularly execute the required component updates and security patches for you to get them automatically. It will make sure that your app is running on the latest stack which reduces your time spent and resources. Apart from this, professional automatic updates reduce the risk of incompatibility and security issues.
Think of a self-built platform: a small company starts building an app based on the number of users. After some time, the business expands and attracts more users and it needs more resources to manage the growing number of users. The problem here is – initial resources are not enough and they would require scaling.
To scale your business is an expensive task that may induce downtime. It is possible to take care of this in advance and build a platform with expected scalability. Though, it is costly and unsafe, as there are no guarantees.
The scalability of PaaS is offered by default due to a scaling system. This includes automatic allocation and release of the required resources, based on the total number of users served by the application. It will ensure that the organization can scale any time without succumbing to being a victim of their own success.
Liberty of Action
The PaaS model is the most beneficial option for creative developers and businesses that require tailored solutions. The primary work is managed by professionals and various tools are available and ready to work, which saves time. In return, developers are able to build their own software and do not depend on providers for this task. Service vendors do not enforce already made solutions, they only develop a safe environment for effective work.
Cons of PaaS
Now we would like to discuss some issues that should be considered when choosing your next platform.
It is a benefit that a particular section of work is completed by the provider without any efforts from your end. Also, your business will be governed by the vendor’s functional abilities, speed and dependability. This is the main reason why it is crucial to trust your business partner and be prepared for contingencies that may happen to even the most dependable vendors. The least your business can do is to prepare your own data backup for security reasons.
A novel platform is an unknown environment where legacy solutions can easily work. It is certain that some issues and concerns may come up when two contradicting systems come together. Hence, it is important to understand the possible compatibility issues and to prepare to handle them.
As a rule of thumb, PaaS software is offered in a public environment where various end users have access to the same resources. For some applications that contain sensitive data or have stringent security requirements, it is not a great option. If your organization is one of these companies, you should consider choosing the platform after careful consideration.
Best PaaS Providers
The enterprise cloud computing universe is grand and versatile. It is evolving rapidly and developing around the world in a robust manner. Presently, half the revenue comes from North America, and Europe handles one fourth of the market share. In the graph below, Statista mentions the market share of the top cloud service providers in 2017 and 2018. The clear leader of PaaS solutions is Amazon AWS and other important players are Microsoft Azure, IBM, Google and Alibaba.
There are a number of smaller cloud infrastructure providers that provide top-class services too. When deciding a PaaS provider, it is best to focus on key differentiators like functionality, architecture, and user experience.
So with that, we can see the many advantages in Paas deployment – however, it is not a stable form of deployment yet. Paas may be the future of development, but there are still some issues. Before implementing Paas, you should consult your DevOps team and others in the business so they can assure you it’s working fine in your company environment. Then you should do some testing on your own to make sure implementation doesn’t break anything else in your app’s architecture.
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Karan works as the Delivery Head at Conneqtion Group, a Oracle iPaaS and Process Automation company. He has an extensive experience with various Banking and financial services, FMCG, Supply chain management & public sector clients. He has also led/been part of teams in multitude of consulting engagements. He was part of Evosys and Oracle’s consulting team previously and worked for clients in NA, EMEA & APAC region.