Platform as a Service report: Moving towards cloud computing development

This special report will help enterprise architects achieve a critical view of the state of platform as a service and make an informed decision about when and how to migrate to PaaS.

The choice on how to implement Platform as a Service (PaaS) as a major component of application development infrastructure is not an easy one to make. PaaS providers hype the advantages of cloud-based development and the ease with which cloud adoption is now possible. On the other hand, analysts are quick to point out what can go wrong in the cloud. This special report will help enterprise architects achieve a critical view of both the FUD and the hype and make an informed decision about when and how to add PaaS to their application infrastructure.

Key benefits of utilizing a cloud platform for developing and deploying applications include the potential for faster, less expensive development projects, increased application scalability and development projects that produce more given the same time and budget. Just as with traditional application development, requirements are key when looking toward a future in cloud computing.

There is a plethora of vendors that position themselves as cloud providers. An apples-to-apples comparison cannot always be made between any given pair of offerings. It's important before jumping into the cloud to take a look at what benefits you intend to garner from a new platform. These form the criteria by which you may judge potential PaaS providers.

Some PaaS provide very obvious advantages.  Application servers automatically provisioned in the cloud abstracted away major concerns of the development team, allowing programmers to focus more on the core functionality of the application. Others provide services you may not have thought of, such as integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). iPaaS presents a range of middleware services in the cloud, which can potentially ease integration efforts and reduce the cost of tying various systems together.

Development teams that have implemented different PaaS projects have come away with surprisingly similar perspectives. Adrian Cole and the jclouds project implemented a Cloud Bees PaaS to cut down on their regular application infrastructure maintenance administrative needs, thereby freeing up the developers (all of whom are volunteers; jclouds is an open source project) to spend more of their time working on the code they care about. Max Media built a social media application with an entire running life would span three days and they built the app in less than three weeks. They partnered with Engine Yard to outsource the DevOps for the client side in order to meet the tight deadline. Both users came away with the same two tips for other development teams getting started with PaaS. First, let go of preconceptions, and second, take accurate stock of your current architecture and infrastructure and make sure that the cloud will accurately fill the gaps. Going forward, PaaS architecture will be due for a revisit as new functionality evolves.

 

What are your thoughts on PaaS? Email us and let us know.

This was first published in February 2012

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