Cloud Computing does not only support storage of information for enterprises, but it is also associated with other attributes such as Platform as a Service, which is designed to assist in application delivery. Using this model, developers can easily gives apps to users via the internet.
PaaS is almost similar to IaaS since the cloud service provider makes the necessary hardware and software tools available to potential users. Therefore, PaaS users are saved from the burden of installing software and supporting hardware in their computing machines. The app developer is therefore able to focus on the creation of the app since the middleware and resource management aspects have been addressed.
PaaS in Software Development
PaaS is evidently designed to benefit the application developers, and as for that reason, it has greatly altered how application development used to be carried out. Software developers gain from PaaS in the following ways:
What to look for in a PaaS Service Provider
- Prototypes can now be created within a short period.
- Rapid development and deployment of new app versions is achievable.
- PaaS automatically creates a backup. Therefore, developers don't need to focus on maintaining a separate copy of the code.
- PaaS allows scaling of applications through the creation of different instances.
- It is now possible to assemble various services, thereby, achieving application integration.
App development using conventional methods is without a doubt more expensive unlike when using PaaS. In the past, app development and deployment used to rely entirely on the infrastructure that had been set up by the users, hence making the entire app development process to be expensive.
- The PaaS service provider should be certified - As a client, subscribing to the services of PaaS companies that are not certified is risky as there is the possibility of operation termination. In case this happens to a service provider of choice, there will be significant financial and data loss to the user. The major regulations that a PaaS service provider should have include Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and PCI DSS.
- Control level over resources - Some providers tend to be stricter with regards to the provision of privileges to users. When many hardware aspects cannot be accessed, it might spell trouble for a user in future when the number of app users increase. Therefore, before settling for a service provider, the level of flexibility and security that is offered should be considered. Rigid service providers waste a lot of company time when fulfilling requests.
- The Size of space required - PaaS service providers should allow for scalability. Users accessing an application can increase their size quickly at times. If the storage size is not set to grow automatically, it may put a business in danger. Without scalability, it will create the need to switch to another service provider midway. This can expose users to additional costs and disruption of services.
The best PaaS service providers
Most PaaS service providers offer clients with similar products, therefore, settling for one can be quite confusing. Some of the best PaaS service providers are;
- Amazon Web Services-Elastic Beanstalk - Elastic Beanstalk is a platform that allows deployment of apps developed using PHP, Node.js, NET, Docker, Ruby, and Python. The platform also allows scaling, which enables an application to accommodate a higher number users. AWS always updates its platforms. This means users can access better development tools and cool features. AWS uses Nginx, IIS, Apache, and Passenger servers, which provide very stable services.
- Salesforce - Salesforce allows users to develop multi-tenant apps. In conjunction with Force.com, development is achieved using customized tools using the Apex programing language. Heroku nowadays supports programming languages such as Scala, PHP, Python, and Node.js. However there tends to be many add-ons. This raises the load requirement.
- Software AG - It is one of the oldest PaaS service providers and has continually been adding new features to the platform to address the needs of the developers adequately. Software AG provides clients with LongJump as the primary platform for application development. LongJump has been developed using Tomcat and MYSQL, and it provides customers with hosted versions.
Microsoft and Amazon are the only PaaS service providers that are truly dynamic. Users can use any platform, operating system, tool or language. Azure is the primary platform provided by Microsoft. The programming languages that it supports are Ruby, Node.js, Python, .NET, and PHP. Azure is more advantageous as it allows users to employ Visual Studio in application deployment.
IBM focuses more on the issue of security and user control. The PaaS service offered relies on Cloud Foundry. It gives users with Bluemix as the primary platform and supports languages such as Ruby on Rails, Python, PHP and Ruby Sinatra.