There are many aspects of digital transformation that businesses have to consider. There can be particular challenges that many businesses will face, especially those that are still operating with monolithic legacy systems.
But the benefits that cloud modernization brings to businesses outweigh any associated challenges. So it’s something every organization needs to consider.
One of the main features of legacy-system modernization is a move away from on-premises IT systems to cloud-based applications and systems. There are three primary types of cloud computing models.
Namely, these are Platform as a Service (PaaS), of which there are several subtypes, as well as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
What should organizations embarking on a modernization strategy know about PaaS? What are good Platform as a Service examples?
Benefits and examples of Platform as a Service
As with any new idea or system, your C-suite executives will want to know that your organization will benefit from switching to a PaaS model. By examining different Platform as a Service examples and the benefits they offer, you’ll be better placed to make an informed decision as to whether a PaaS solution is a good fit for your business.
The first thing you’re going to consider is the benefits you’ll gain. There are many potential benefits, but these are some of the main ones:
- Time-saving: If you’re using PaaS, then your DevOps team can build applications much faster than if they were working on traditional platforms and backend architecture. PaaS provides developers with a totally virtual software environment that allows them to code, test, and deploy applications faster and streamline workflows.
- Scalability: Every business wants to grow. The problem with outdated physical IT infrastructure is that it has limitations when it comes to scalability. In most cases, growth means costly expansion of physical IT infrastructure and computing resources, as well as ongoing maintenance costs. PaaS allows you to scale up or down according to your business needs.
- Easier maintenance: Because they’re operating in the cloud, your developers can build applications without having to build, configure, or update physical servers. Your PaaS provider shoulders responsibility for platform maintenance and upgrades, so this takes those roles away from your IT team.
- Accessibility: There are two sides to this benefit. The first is that many PaaS vendors offer options for application development across different platforms, such as mobile devices, various browsers, and computers. This makes it easier for your DevOps team to work on cross-platform apps simultaneously.
The second aspect is that, in a world where remote or hybrid-working models are common, the fact that PaaS is cloud-based means that you can have several developers working on the same project even when they’re in different geographical locations.
- Cost-savings: PaaS offers lots of savings, which is always something that will make your CFO happy. Because PaaS provides a pay-as-you-go model, you can access and use a wide range of software, analytics, and BI (business intelligence) tools that may otherwise be outside your budget.
As well as access to IaaS and SaaS applications, you can also save money when it comes to developing your own apps. You’re also making significant savings when it comes to buying and maintaining costly on-premises infrastructure and hardware.
Examples of PaaS
PaaS is a cloud platform service that allows organizations to access cloud components of certain software types and is used primarily for applications. PaaS provides a framework that will enable your developers to work on and either create brand-new applications or customize existing ones. Some well-known Platform as a Service examples are:
Google App Engine
GAE allows you to build large server-side websites and supports your DevOps team with a range of easy-to-use developer tools. GAE also supports a variety of programming languages, including Java, Node.js, Go, Ruby, Python, and PHP. GAE offers a fully managed environment, so your team can focus on code while the platform manages all cloud infrastructure concerns.
Microsoft (Windows) Azure is another platform that lets you divert attention from running your infrastructure by migrating your servers to the cloud and going serverless. You can also add hybrid capabilities by combining on-premises architecture with cloud-based architecture or running all your workloads on Azure.
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Elastic Beanstalk helps organizations easily deploy and scale all their web applications and services. Your developers simply upload their code, and EB automates all aspects of deployment, from load balancing and capacity provisioning through to auto-scaling and monitoring.
Types of PaaS
Three primary types of PaaS have given birth” to another three prominent spinoffs. Knowing what the different types can offer your organization can help you make a more informed choice of which will best suit your business needs and use cases. You may decide the best way to progress is a multi-cloud solution.
Public PaaS solutions are usually used in the public cloud and let organizations control the deployment of apps. In contrast the cloud service provider delivers, manages, and maintains all the important infrastructure components, such as operating systems (OS), servers, databases, storage, and so on.
One thing to note about public PaaS is how it works with IaaS. The majority of public PaaS vendors provide middleware so that you’re able to set up and manage some resources, such as servers and databases, without requiring the physical infrastructure that enables you to do so.
This means that you’re working on the public cloud using the vendor’s IaaS. The disadvantage of this is that you’re stuck with the public cloud ecosystem that your vendor uses. So larger organizations may be reluctant to use this option.
As the name suggests, this is a solution that utilizes the private cloud. While you still benefit from the agility that public PaaS provides, working within your own private cloud means that there’s more of an emphasis on factors such as security and compliance. This makes it a good solution for businesses that handle sensitive data and information.
If you choose a private PaaS solution, then your vendor will deliver that solution within your own firewall, which can be managed in your on-premises IT infrastructure. Because security is a primary focus, your developers can safely build, deploy, and manage any applications while remaining compliant with any relevant privacy and security requirements.
For many organizations, hybrid PaaS services offer the best of both worlds. Hybrid PaaS solutions are extremely flexible as they can offer your developers the advantages of public and private PaaS solutions, meaning that your organization can own any internal infrastructure through private PaaS elements.
Communication PaaS solutions (CPaaS) focus on communications aspects by allowing you to add real-time communication features to your apps via their cloud-based platforms.
This usually occurs using backend infrastructure and interfaces, as these are the most common features in apps that are built for communications, such as messaging or video call apps.
If you want to build apps that require real-time communication, then CPaaS provides you with an environment that has everything you need to develop the appropriate features.
Most CPaaS solutions will also include SDKs (software development kits) and comprehensive libraries to help your development teams build apps on various platforms, such as desktop computers, mobile devices, or a specific web browser.
Aimed specifically at mobile app development, this is the simplest of the PaaS solutions, as your developers don’t require any special coding skills to use it. It provides end users with a paid integrated development environment (IDE) that makes it relatively easy to configure your mobile apps.
Mobile PaaS users can also access an intuitive drag-and-drop interface so that your developers can easily develop native or HTML5 apps. MPaaS is a very cost-effective solution, especially for smaller businesses, as it removes the need for any in-house mobile application developers or specialist IT support.
If you decide to use an open PaaS solution, then you’ll find that it can run on all devices and that everything is open source. In most circumstances, it runs via the hybrid cloud environment and is best suited for simple business-oriented collaborative apps, such as mail apps or calendars.
One of the advantages of this is that you can develop apps using a wide variety of open-source software, such as Kubernetes or Cloud Foundry, which can significantly reduce development costs for smaller organizations.
Criteria in differentiating Platform as a Service companies
So, you’ve identified which model (or models) will best suit your business needs. The next step toward implementation is to choose your PaaS vendor. As with selecting a model, this stage is very much about ensuring that a provider meets your needs as well as considering the levels of support they offer.
It’s also important to consider the cost of each provider’s price plans and what’s included.
Performance and consistency
The last thing you want is to choose a provider and then find out later that they don’t deliver consistently good performance and reliability. Make a list of potential providers and then look at what they offer and each aspect of their service that’s important to you.
One thing that should be a priority is that your provider has robust disaster recovery plans or techniques that are resistant to fault so that their services are still accessible during any unexpected outages or disasters. A good provider will already have established processes and strategies to cope with unplanned and planned downtime.
Data storage is simple, but how does your provider plan on protecting your vital data? Both your apps and your business as a whole rely on data. You need to be sure that both data and applications are secure and protected.
When you have a shortlist of providers, read their SLAs (service level agreements) very carefully, especially in relation to how secure any data center is.
These SLAs should detail the steps your provider will take when it comes to data protection, as well as guarantees of uptime, disaster management plans, and user support.
Your ideal provider should have strict ethical guidelines and transparent policies regarding confidentiality issues that ensure not only the security of your data but also the privacy of all information they handle.
Okay, every business needs to start somewhere, but organizations will likely be hesitant about engaging a provider that has little or no experience. You want to know the extent of each provider’s experience and how long they’ve been providing PaaS solutions, particularly in the areas you operate.
One of the wonderful things about the internet is that there are reviews of almost everything. So, take some time to look at different sites that offer reviews on PaaS providers as well as any specific articles, comparisons, or blogs on the provider you’re considering.
What may be of particular worry is if a provider has any history of legal issues, security problems, or data breaches.
Languages and frameworks
Your developers may use a range of programming languages, or they may focus on just one or two. Either way, you want to be sure that any PaaS solution provider offers a wide range of programming languages that include the ones your DevOps teams use as well as any they may use in the future.
A good PaaS provider should offer not only a variety of programming languages but also the frameworks and virtual machines your developers prefer to use. Remember, you may change the languages and frameworks you use in the future, so providers that offer a range of choices may be preferable.
Compliance and regulation
There are many regulatory requirements for different industries that can vary in strictness according to the sensitivity of the data and information you handle. Good examples would be healthcare organizations, which need to be compliant with laws such as HIPAA, and financial sector organizations.
If you need to comply with any specific laws or regulations, ensure that potential PaaS providers adhere to the expected standards. Ask the provider how they maintain compliance and what oversight they have.
If they adhere to industry standards, then it’s likely that they maintain those standards consistently and implement all measures needed to ensure best practices.
Reduce operating costs with top Platform as a Service examples
One of the major benefits of implementing a PaaS solution is that it can dramatically decrease your operating costs. Because it’s a pay-as-you-go model, you can not only save on the maintenance of physical infrastructure, such as servers and storage, but also access SaaS cloud applications that you otherwise may not have been able to purchase outright.
OpenLegacy can help you achieve your business goals and offers different solutions according to your needs. With the ability to provide your business with integrated Platform as a Service (iPaaS) solutions and efficient microservices and APIs, you’ll be able to integrate and modernize legacy systems as well as migrate to cloud computing services as needed.
This can not only help you to reduce your operating costs, but it can also make your developers’ jobs easier by creating an integrated environment where they will be able to develop, build, deploy, and maintain any apps you need.
What are the best Platform as a Service providers?
While there are many Platform as a Service providers available for you to choose from, what’s best for your business may not necessarily be what’s best for others. Therefore, it’s vital that you carefully plan which option is best for your needs.
This means that, as well as looking at your current needs, you should also consider your future needs and what each provider brings to the table. Some of the current leading providers are listed below:
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Engine Yard
- Google Cloud/Google App Engine
- Oracle Cloud
- IBM Cloud
- Microsoft Azure
- Red Hat OpenShift
Each of these providers offers distinct benefits and, in some cases, may also present challenges when being used. One thing you should always consider is what you’re moving from and what you want to move to. If you’re operating an outdated legacy system and want to migrate to the cloud, then it’s important that you think about everything that entails.
If you’re modernizing your technology stack, then you’ll be thinking a lot about flexibility and customization. These are things that can be achieved through microservices architecture networks with API-powered connections.
For larger organizations, there are many things to think about when it comes to modernizing your legacy system. There could be tools and applications, such as Salesforce, that you want to integrate into your new PaaS solution without compromising data, and OpenLegacy can easily help achieve this.