A strong PaaS model lays the groundwork for SaaS development

SaaS app development has the potential to continuously improve a development team's process. However, its success depends on the PaaS model that supports it.

Amazon Elastic Beanstalk has the potential to continuously improve the development process, but only if a viable PaaS model supports it. The platform-as-a-service model should allow developers to collaborate on fixing problems in any stage of the lifecycle. Not only would this improve testing, it would also protect applications from hackers and human errors. The model also lets developers change performance parameters for software testing...

purposes.

Inside the PaaS model

The PaaS model consists of these three lifecycles:

Risk-management lifecycle. The developers along with risk analysts track the risk-mitigation processes and the cost effectiveness of safeguards. Risk is the likelihood a threat agent will exploit one or more vulnerabilities. The developers use logs to identify vulnerabilities of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances with Elastic Beanstalk.

Application development lifecycle. The developers track the progress of SaaS application development on the PaaS. This includes requirements through design and coding to deployment stages. The Amazon Beanstalk console is the easiest way to start the design phase of the application development lifecycle. The developer would get email notifications from Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) on the status of the deployment. Amazon CloudWatch also provides metrics on the average number of times an application has succeeded and other aspects of application performance.

Business process lifecycle. The developers can control, protect and optimize applications. As part of this cycle, the developer uses spreadsheets, word processors, presentations and other business tools. The primary goal is to improve general workflow.

Interrelating lifecycles

To continuously improve the process of software development, the developers should take advantage of the PaaS model's interrelationships.

For example, application testing for design flaws involves the following three lifecycles:

The PaaS model should allow developers to collaborate on fixing problems.

Risk management lifecycle. Developers and risk analysts identify assets, vulnerabilities and threats. They assess risks to application development, then create a risk-based approach to the development process. They recommend cost-effective safeguards to mitigate the risks of software flaws. The developers also employ business tools such as spreadsheets to list assets, vulnerabilities, threats, risks and safeguards.

Application development lifecycle. The developers apply the risk-based approach to each stage of application development. If new vulnerabilities, threats and/or risks are found, they can return to the risk management lifecycle to implement new safeguards. Then the developers apply the updated risk-based approach to application development. Again, they would complete the process with business tools by recording the changes to be adopted in future workflows.

Business process lifecycle. The developers optimize the control and protection of the risk-based development process. SaaS user feedback on beta testing of the application is a critical metric for this cycle. The developers use spreadsheets and documents to record the results of the risk-based security testing including vulnerability assessments.

Collaborating on interrelationships

To keep track of continuous improvements, it is important to communicate effectively. Developers should email one another whenever a change is made. It might help to attach any relevant graphs, diagrams or other visuals to better illustrate the point.

To simplify file sharing and updates, developers should consider AWS Zocalo. They can upload new versions on demand, without having to resort to emailing multiple versions of their files. Uploading files will help reduce the costs of sending information over the network.

Zocalo installation only takes a few seconds. Currently, there is a waiting period to get the limited preview, but developers who get a turn will have a 30-day free trial that will provide a generous 200 GB of storage. The limited preview is also available for developers who want to use it with Amazon Workspaces (virtual desktop).

Keeping down the costs of software development require that the developers, testers, risk analysts and business analysts work together as a team in planning ahead. This means defining and improving the PaaS model while bringing it into alignment with Elastic Beanstalk.

Next Steps

Beanstalk feeds into enterprise fears

App integration woes in the cloud age

This was first published in July 2014

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