Parthenon Software Group

Platform as a Service

In the past, cloud computing as more of an ideal, but still experimental service. Some of the pieces are still fairly immature today, but that hasn't stopped businesses from latching onto new offerings. These days, it's PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and its ability to simplify the development process.

Geared toward software developers and programmers, PaaS is a vendor service where companies can upload and store software and data to a provider's remote server/s. In other words, PaaS essentially takes traditional middleware and uploads it to the cloud.

The benefits? As most people are well aware, servers are expensive and coding takes up a significant amount of space on said server. There are also additional costs, such as hardware and software licensing. The aim of PaaS is to alleviate the issues by having the provider take care of the legalistics. As a result, developers/programmers will be free to focus on coding and developing business solutions.

Futhermore, expenditures such as time, funds and technical maintenance will supposedly be reduced while assets like mobility, accessibility and scalability will increase. Other PaaS offerings include database integration, storage and applicatioin versioning. 

And there are certainly plenty of platforms to choose from. Just remember to do your research before you make a decision.

The various types of PaaS include:

  • Add-on Development Facilities
    This type of PaaS refers to customization of existing software
  • Standalone Development Environments
    This particular type of PaaS is mainly used for customized programming environments
  • Application Delivery-Only Environments
    This service is what it sounds like, with support of deployment of programs to customers.
  • Open Platform as a Service
    The playing field is essentially opened up with this service. Developers can bring their own platforms to the cloud.

The benefits seem simple enough, but for all the interest in PaaS, is not widely known nor widely used. Why? It's still a fairly new and immature resource and as such, adoption is not nearly as forthcoming. Moreover, there are rising issues that must be dealt with.

Such issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Runtime Limitations
    Runtimes are usually designed to work with a set of languages and frameworks and won't necessarily work if you vary from those parameters.
  • Application Requirements
    In order for scalability to work correctly for a number of applications, PaaS must conform to certain rules and regulations.
  • Add-on Limitations
    Once again, there are set amount of add-ons and they usually only address common use cases.

So, will PaaS work for your business? As with most other things it ultimately comes down to weighing the benefits against the disadvantages. Not all PaaS offerings will include the aforementioned limitations. It largely depends on the platform and the vendor.

Still on the fence? Check out Why PaaS Is The Future from InformationWeek.

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