PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) is a cloud model that provides an environment for developing, deploying, and running software applications. It provides software development kits hosted by developers, database management tools, and application management capabilities.
PaaS provides preconfigured capabilities for developing web and mobile applications, such as programming languages, supported frameworks, hosting and run-time environments, application development tools, and managed database servers.
PaaS vendors provide virtual resources for building, deploying, and finally launching web and mobile applications, reducing the need for backend software development. PaaS can have a significant impact on the performance, availability, and flexibility of an application. As a result, choosing a PaaS provider is a critical task for any organization.
Numerous PaaS providers are on the market today, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Developers must understand the features and functions of various PaaS providers to select the best PaaS for their business needs. We identified ten guiding parameters for evaluating and selecting a PaaS provider.
1. Programming Languages
2. Supported Frameworks
Developers must select the best framework for their enterprise needs. The framework provides a software environment for developing, building, and deploying web and mobile applications without starting from scratch. Developers may be familiar with a specific framework, but it is unavailable on the chosen PaaS offering. As a result, supported frameworks have become an important factor in selecting PaaS vendors. As a result, PaaS providers frequently support as many languages and frameworks as possible to attract a diverse set of programmer communities.
Scalability is one of the primary advantages of cloud computing. Every application or hardware infrastructure should be expanded to handle the increased load. Scalability in web applications ensures they can scale up to handle the increased load while remaining stable.
PaaS vendors should support three types of scaling to manage the system load – i) Scale-Up (Vertical scaling), ii) Scale-Out (Horizontal scaling), and iii) Auto-scaling. Scaling up a system means adding more power to an existing infrastructure instance. This means faster storage, such as Solid State Drives, and more powerful processors (CPUs) (SSDs). Adding servers and scaling out the systems horizontally adds computing power or memory capacity to an overall system. Auto-scaling (automatic elasticity) adds or removes compute resources based on usage.
4. Deployment Models
PaaS offerings today are also Polyhost, which means they support various underlying cloud hosting environments on top of which the PaaS is run. Most PaaS providers offer their customers three major deployment models: public, private, and virtual private. In a public cloud deployment, cloud services are made available to many customers with whom the provider’s resources are shared. A single customer uses cloud services exclusively in a private cloud deployment.
Private cloud deployment may be less efficient than public cloud deployment due to fewer resource-sharing opportunities and higher costs. Customers may need in-house PaaS installation and operation expertise under this deployment model. A virtual private cloud deployment occurs within a data center owned and controlled by a cloud service provider. A data center’s resources are dedicated to a single customer and isolated from other customers’ available resources.
5. Run-time Environment
A run-time environment is the execution environment the operating system provides to an application or software. It aggregates resources such as software libraries, environment, and system variables. It also provides critical services and assistance to the application processes involved in execution. A run-time environment is required for software developers to test the functionality of their applications. Common run-time environments in current PaaS offerings include Apache Tomcat, Jetty, IIS, and Dynos Run-time.
A PaaS database is hosted in the cloud. Access to the PaaS database is provided as a service that ensures the database’s high availability and scalability. Current PaaS offerings include MongoDB, Redis, MySQL, and PostgreSQL databases.
7. Development Tools
Development tools automate and streamline all development and deployment activities to save time. The most fundamental development tools are consoles, command-line tools, IDEs, code editors, web UIs, continuous integrations, and testing libraries.
8. Underlying IaaS
Because PaaS provides its services using underlying cloud infrastructure components such as servers, storage, network, and virtualization, it is always built on the IaaS model. Every PaaS offering includes some form of underlying IaaS on top of which PaaS services are built. OpenStack, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Amazon’s EC2 cloud servers, Amazon Web Services, and OpenStack are some examples of underlying IaaS.
9. Application Portability
The ability of a PaaS application to be ported across different cloud platforms is referred to as application portability. Assume a developer creates and deploys an app on a common cloud platform. In that case, porting the application to a different platform with as few changes as possible should be possible. Many proprietary PaaS vendors now use cloud application portability technologies. For cloud app portability, Heroku employs Buildpacks, whereas OpenShift employs Cartridges.
10. Pricing Model
The service provider should employ various pricing models to determine the price. Pricing strategies can be classified into two types: fixed pricing models and dynamic pricing models.