Choose Your PaaS Carefully

Four Checklists that will help you reach the best decision for your company.

 

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is an application development environment that allows developers to build cloud-based applications without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure (hardware and software). A PaaS provides ready-to-use Services and Programming Frameworks, which speed up development of applications and increases productivity and agility, see Figure 1. Companies adopt PaaS model to be competitive and bring agility and increased productivity to their development and IT teams.

 

Figure 1: Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Figure 1: Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a fast growing market that is quickly attracting both large enterprise vendors, like Microsoft, IBM, EMC/VMware and Oracle, as well as startups looking to capitalize on cloud services while the cloud infrastructure services are being commoditized. The PaaS global market is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2013 to $14 billion in 2017, according to the analyst firm IDC.

In the larger picture of cloud-based service models, PaaS sits in between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), as shown in Figure 2.

IaaS-PaaS-SaaS

THE RIGHT PaaS

Businesses are moving towards PaaS model at an increased pace. Often the selection of a PaaS is opportunistic, driven by pressures to quickly deliver a specific business initiative. But a decision made solely to extend existing offerings, or to demonstrate a new service, can be shortsighted. If it ends up saddling your IT organization with the need to manage inconsistent and redundant technologies and services, a PaaS can turn out to be problematic.

 

On the other hand, choosing the right PaaS can be a key in positioning your IT Team and Infrastructure as an asset within your organization. The right PaaS will:

  • maximize the productivity and agility of your developers and IT team, and
  • allow you to quickly and effectively respond to business and market needs.

PaaS software and services are available from multiple vendors, each offering its own models, technologies, portals, services, and management systems. Remember one size fits all is the wrong approach for PaaS.

 

To aid your decision process for choosing the most suitable PaaS for your business, we have provided the following checklists to help you assess your needs and the possible business impacts.

 

DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT AND TOOLS FLEXIBILITY

A flexible set of tools allows developers to choose the best environment for a project and allows optimal use of the developers’ skill sets and expertise. But while an open-source PaaS solution will provide more flexibility, it will also result in added complexity for support.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is the PaaS’s ability to:

ToolsAndDevelopmentEnvironment

 

SECURITY AND MULTI-TENANCY

A PaaS platform should provide the ability to secure your application and IT infrastructure and to isolate subscribers from one another and from the providers of the cloud services.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is:

 

SecurityAndMultitenancy

 

APPLICATION PORTABILITY

Many large organizations have a plethora of existing applications, many of which were developed for on-premise deployments and single tenants. These applications need to be transformed in order to integrate with or migrate to a cloud infrastructure. Other organizations need to migrate their applications from one cloud environment to another for various reasons, including technology and business needs. To prioritize your goals related to maintaining control of your environments and applications during and after migration.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is:

ApplicationPortability

LEVERAGING EXISTING INVESTMENTS AND FUTURE CHOICES

Many organizations have already made investments in cloud services and have existing infrastructure, virtualized and physical. Moreover, the ability to leverage the existing knowledge base and expertise of developers and IT teams is often vital.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is:

ExistingInfrastructure

An optimal choice of a PaaS should take into account a company’s goals, existing infrastructure, in-house expertise, and other concerns. If vendor lock-in is important and you want the ability to customize and readily integrate with existing services open-source offering may be a choice. In that case look at a vender that is offering supported version of a popular distribution, like Cloud Foundry.