Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a cloud service model that offers a setting for creating, distributing, and using software programs.
For creating web and mobile applications, PaaS offers preconfigured capabilities such as managed database servers, supported frameworks, hosting and runtime environments, application development tools, and programming languages.
The choice of a PaaS provider is a crucial task for an organization. It can be challenging to choose from the various development and deployment features that PaaS providers offer. Additionally, the company might become locked into a specific provider, making switching challenging due to technical and legal compatibility issues.
This article presents the top 6 PaaS providers and their offerings.
1. Cloud Foundry
The first open PaaS service in the world, developed originally by VMware in-house, Cloud Foundry provides a command line interface (CLI) for application services interface, an automation engine for easy application deployment, and an application execution engine. One of the core principles of Cloud Foundry is its independence from the underlying infrastructure, giving users a choice to use their existing infrastructure, such as desktops, data centers, and private Clouds, while still taking advantage of all the benefits of PaaS. Businesses can implement this PaaS service on either their infrastructure or the infrastructure of cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or OpenStack.
Because of Cloud Foundry’s extreme flexibility, developers can write code in various JVM languages and frameworks, such as Rails, Sinatra, Node.js, and Spring for Java developers. Because Cloud Foundry makes integrating their existing tools and code simple, developers favor it. Anyone interested in reducing the cost and complexity of configuring infrastructure for their apps should use Cloud Foundry. Without changing their source code, developers can use Cloud Foundry to deploy their applications.
2. AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Elastic AWS Beanstalk allows developers and system administrators to deploy, control, and manage their applications without worrying about the underlying AWS infrastructure. Beanstalk reduces management complexity while maintaining choice and control. Developers can use AWS platform services without creating or maintaining their application servers. It allows Java developers using the Apache Tomcat software stack to upload a J2EE application directly. AWS supports Java, Python,.NET, Node.js, and Ruby, as well as containers for each language. A container represents the infrastructure and software stack available in a given environment. Beanstalk makes it simple to set up and manage databases such as MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server.
AWS also provides an RDS (Remote Desktop) web service, eliminating the need for database administration. It also supports applications not designed to be used on the web in the first place. Developers can use Amazon Beanstalk for automatic load balancing, auto-scaling, managing peaks in application workload, and monitoring application health. Beanstalk may provision additional AWS resources, such as Amazon EC2 instances after an application has been deployed. Developers can access AWS Beanstalk via the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI (AWS Command Line Interface), or a high-level CLI “EB” designed specifically for Elastic Beanstalk. Users only pay for the AWS resources that their applications use. There is no additional fee for using Elastic Beanstalk.
Heroku is a PaaS platform built on an abstract computing environment called dynos, virtualized Unix containers. Dynos isolates processes and allows users to run apps within these containers. Heroku handles other aspects of app deployment, such as container orchestration, load balancing, logging, configuration, failovers, security, and so on. It has a robust ecosystem for deploying and running modern applications. Heroku is a polyglot PaaS platform that allows developers to build, deploy, run, and scale applications in various languages. It supports Ruby, Scala, Clojure, Python, PHP, Go, and other programming languages. Heroku integrates well with Git for application deployment. A single command in Git can push the application to the remote Heroku repository.
There are numerous other ways to build and release applications, such as GitHub integration, Dropbox Sync, or Heroku API. Heroku combines the application’s source code and dependencies, such as packages, modules, and libraries, that must be available in the runtime environment. It compiles source code, locates dependencies, and groups these resources into a slug structure. The slug includes all of the resources needed to run an application.
4. Google App Engine (GAE)
Google App Engine is a PaaS service that hosts distributed Web applications. Developers can quickly build small mobile and Web back-end applications locally (on developer machines) and then deploy them to the Cloud. After installation, applications run in the same environment as other Google applications. This PaaS offering provides an execution environment in which applications can run on a virtualized technology that allows for automatic on-demand scaling. Google App Engine provides developer tools for rapid development, deployment, administration, monitoring, and troubleshooting.
App Engine currently supports Java, Node, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Go. Each supported language has its own Software Development Kit in Google App Engine. It works with both SQL and NoSQL databases. Other PaaS providers typically provide IaaS-like features that allow users to customize their environment. However, this is not possible with Google App Engine, and App Engine is frequently chastised for not providing its users with enough transparency to allow them to control the infrastructure they use. Developers get managed hardware infrastructure and auto-scaling runtime environments. Because the Google App Engine layer hides the underlying hardware resources, developers do not have direct control over resources and their allocation. While developers work on their codes, Google handles infrastructure.
5. Red Hat OpenShift Online
Red Hat OpenShift Online is a Platform-as-a-Service platform for application development and hosting. It makes it easier for developers and IT departments to provision, manage, and scale applications in the Cloud. OpenShift Online offers its developers a diverse set of programming languages and frameworks, including Node.js,.NET, Java, PHP, and Python. The application life cycle is supported by other integrated development tools such as JBoss Developer Studio, Eclipse integration, and Jenkins.
OpenShift Online is a multitenant cloud platform for developers that allows them to create, deploy, and run containerized applications. It also uses Kubernetes for container orchestration and management, simplifying operational tasks like deployment, scaling, service discovery, and health management. Tools for developers and operations enable faster application development. It enables the quick management of multiple projects via a Web dashboard. OpenShift employs quick-start templates, which enable developers to deploy application frameworks with a single click. It provides service, build, and deployment configurations required to build an application.
AppFog is a public PaaS service that enables the rapid and simple deployment of scalable, robust, high-performance cloud-ready applications. Developers can focus on writing web applications rather than worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure when using AppFog. AppFog’s goal is to deploy applications quickly, geographically dispersed, and elastically on a Cloud-based platform. With AppFog, developers only need to manage their code and data, while PaaS handles the rest, including operating systems, virtualization, runtime, middleware, servers, networking, and storage. Instead of provisioning and configuring Web servers or setting up databases, developers can focus on their applications.
AppFog runs on multiple clouds, its most appealing and well-liked feature. It is currently available on Amazon, OpenStack, and Microsoft Azure. AppFog is built on Cloud Foundry, which may appeal to developers who prefer the VMware platform. It also makes it simple to migrate applications previously hosted on Cloud Foundry. AppFog does not offer persistent file storage, so users must rely on Amazon S3 or other fee-based object storage systems. It supports various programming languages, including Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby. AppFog supports multiple runtime environments and frameworks, auto-scaling, and load balancing.