It seems that the past decade or so of noise around Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) was well worth it. The technology has now reached a level of maturity and scale to be regarded as a reliable solution for both large- and small-scale companies. Leveraging it, enterprises can achieve faster and more secure solutions, while saving themselves the pain of managing, provisioning, or monitoring compute, storage, and network components. Developers can spend most of their time doing what they should be doing – developing, customizing, and testing their applications. Moreover, it helps improve application release time, which can help get early user feedback.
Let’s take a look at the specific benefits PaaS brings to the table in application support and development.
Within the standard application support activities of incident and problem management, enterprises typically achieve a 25-35 percent net effort reduction when supporting an application in a PaaS environment. PaaS vendors now perform activities such as database and middleware management, which reduces the number of tickets for their setup and management. PaaS platforms that come with their own application monitoring tools don’t even raise a ticket when there’s a lag in application response due to proactive monitoring and auto-healing mechanisms. Other activities, such as daily checks and log management, are also managed by the PaaS vendor. Thus, enterprises can save considerable effort by distancing themselves from routine tasks and focusing on more productive work.
Similarly, for application development activities, PaaS can help achieve 25-40 percent efficiencies. Activities such as drafting an operational model become easier with PaaS, as features such as deployment views, infrastructure views, and monitoring views are already built in the platform. Most PaaS solutions come with pre-defined plans and SLA guarantees, so non-functional requirements testing for infrastructure availability isn’t required. Further, PaaS can facilitate automation in executing test scripts, taking backups, applying schemas, etc.
What to consider when selecting a PaaS solution
At the same time, choosing a PaaS solution to achieve the desired benefits can be a tall order. First, enterprises need to evaluate if the platform supports the technologies, programming languages, and middleware stacks its development teams use.
Here are the other key things you need to consider when zeroing in on a PaaS solution:
- Data security considerations: Data residing policies for storing data in vendor-controlled or third-party cloud servers need to be compatible with your enterprise’s policies, e.g., GDPR compliance
- Integration capabilities of the PaaS solution: Not all the components of legacy IT systems are built for the cloud; thus, you must do thorough due diligence of your existing environment
- Application type: PaaS is more suitable for custom applications that are not System of Record (SOR) solutions. SOR solutions, such as ERP, are primarily data repository systems that do not require scalability or dynamism to be built in
- Vendor lock-in: You should consider application portability to alternative PaaS options to ensure smooth functioning in the event of migration. Typically, open source PaaS platforms offer low risk of vendor lock-in
- Security and compliance: You should also consider the regulatory impact and choose a PaaS provider whose systems are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and HIPAA/HITECH compliant. And you need to make sure that stored/transferred data will follow an adequate data protection framework.
Considering PaaS’ potential business advantages, it’s difficult to overlook its value proposition. PaaS can make companies more agile and responsive to demand, scale up quickly, and avoid costly investments in infrastructure.
It also expedites application delivery by enabling developers to create and deliver software in a simple and automated fashion. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all PaaS solutions are alike, and there’s no single PaaS for all customer needs. To realize the desired benefits from any PaaS solution, you must carefully dovetail your enterprise’s unique requirements with the offerings of the PaaS vendor.