A Simple Approach to Choose Appropriate PaaS Provider

By CIOReview | Friday, July 8, 2016
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Today, we have various PaaS providers to choose from—ivotal Cloud Foundry, IBM BlueMix, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce Heroku, Google App Engine, AWS Beanstalk and others. So do you select the right one for your organization? Are there any criteria for selecting an appropriate vendor? Navigating through the fast-growing Platform-as-a-Service landscape can land an organization in a never ending labyrinth. Unless they have a simple approach to choose an appropriate PaaS provider, which first requires a clear understanding of the platform as a service landscape?

First of all let’s have a look at some of the PaaS concerns.

Does it support the programming languages you need?

Most of the enterprises have preferred programming languages according to their need. Hence, it is important for the decision makers to try and use the PaaS offering from the provider who shares the same programming language compatibility. As a result, common language will make it easier for enterprises to develop and launch applications in the long run.

Does it support your required Application Frameworks?

Since PaaS manages all the software stacks, it requires executives to relinquish some level of control, so that IT Directors get accustomed to the cloud provider’s service level agreements. In addition, IT Directors should also know how their application’s uptime objectives support corporate goals. If the decision-makers are not happy with a particular service provider, they can continue searching for an ideal partner.

Selection Criteria – The Right Provider

Choosing the suitable PaaS provider and solution for a business can be a daunting and tedious task because of the growing technology landscape and big players in the market. First aspect to evaluate is the selection of PaaS provider or platform that supports a number of enterprise applications with broad range of technologies that is easy to operate.

Prior to the selection of PaaS partner, companies should inspect the technology offered by the vendor to ensure whether it supports the company’s existing infrastructure or not. Few questions company needs to answer before choosing PaaS partner—what altitude of support does the PaaS provider give for continuous integration, testing, innovation and customization? What are the vendor-specific technical services used in the PaaS solution? Are they adhering to proper industry standards?

It is important to pick a PaaS platform that supports multiple programming languages, databases, NoSQL databases, messaging services integrated with features like horizontal, vertical and auto-scaling. Companies are looking to invest in a PaaS platform, which could deliver performance, agility and scalability along with long term benefits. They are seeking a range of fundamental business drivers along with the access to application. The resources centered on the type of PaaS – public, private or hybrid with a major focus on applications and not on maintaining and managing infrastructure. A platform here means a complex environment, required to host an application, before a hosted language runtime.

PaaS environments require proprietary software development kits, which provide a permanent application lock-in to the platform. Applications must be written to the vendor-specific PaaS, and deployed in the underlying infrastructure that is under surveillance. While application portability is a major concern, the ability to choose the basic cloud infrastructure, virtualization technology and data centre locations are also important criteria in platform selection. To avoid vendor lock-in and to have numerous choices of platforms and clouds, it is essential to pick a platform-agnostic, infrastructure-agnostic, hypervisor-agnostic platform that allows moving workloads when needed. If compliance and security are main concerns, for instance in regulated industries such as Health Care and Financial Services, then using private clouds and private PaaS is an appropriate solution.

Black-box solutions offered by PaaS do not provide infrastructure component choice that implies existing applications that are transferred needs to be modified. So, before choosing the PaaS vendor, users need to identify and prioritize such applications to transfer to a PaaS on private or public clouds.

In order to migrate existing applications, the user needs to evaluate PaaS options which support the deployment of existing applications, facilitate smooth migration as well as the migration of next-generation, modern cloud applications.

First-generation application management offerings – also known as workload management solutions, were created to provision virtual machines of applications and infrastructure services on virtualized environments, such as VMware vSphere. Such solutions are rigid and need a significant service catalogue to provision applications. The workload management solutions are strongly connected and do not provide option of virtualization layer and orchestration technology. When the applications are revamped, they need reconstruction of virtual appliances. On top of that, first-generation solutions exhibit enormous management and high costs for IT Ops.

Enterprises must select a PaaS solution that is developed to decouple hardware from virtualization, letting companies to decide on the virtualization technology of choice. In addition, VM orchestration solution decouples infrastructure services and applications completely from the underlying orchestration layer. Such PaaS architecture provides option to companies in selecting the appropriate layer of IaaS, hypervisor and PaaS to control the cost of the overall cloud solution.

Inference

PaaS is suitable for those organizations that are looking to develop their IT infrastructure to build agility and leverage the cost benefits of clouds. As infrastructure develops and enterprises build new architectures, the cloud platform also must go forward and be able to provide additional functionality to support changing development and deployment needs. To wrap up things in a nutshell, a PaaS solution must be adaptable to meet specific enterprise needs and requirements, and to extend and accommodate user’s changing requirements.