Understanding the Business Benefits of Platform as a Service
Internet has revolutionized the way business is operated harnessing limitless opportunities to perform routine to critical organizational functions. Cloud Computing is a remarkable shift in IT industry, which enables virtually anyone for reliable, scalable and on demand robust IT as a Service solutions stacks. Platform as a Service is a cloud service offering which enables the development, deployment, integration and maintenance of key business applications without even buying the underlying backend architecture, on a convenient pay as you go model, where all these applications are hosted on the provider’s infrastructure and are entirely accessible via internet.
What is Platform as a Service?
Platform as a Service provides the entire infrastructure essential to either design or deploy general, social, business and enterprise level software applications, without managing or controlling the host cloud infrastructure including networks, servers, operating systems, storage and all the programming tools & applications, hence providing the Platform to build, test and deploy applications with the same development architecture & infrastructure as an organization would require in-house for building and hosting enterprise level applications.
PaaS provides complete stack of development tools which are accessed by developers via web browser to create enterprise level applications, without installing anything besides a web browser on their computers, and deploying these over the complex & heterogeneous infrastructure without any specific skills required. Platform as Service requires zero upfront cost to obtain the essential platform, including essential workflow application specific amenities, scalable as per need, secured by provider, facilitating easy and quick deployment of applications, either on a build & host or deploy & host solution model. An extensive PaaS solution stack may include services for application design, development, testing, hosting, deployment, web service integration, database, storage, security, versioning and extensive developer support.
Types of PaaS Solutions
Platform as a Service has enabled the provision, orchestration and functioning of mission critical business and social applications that are easily accessed by anyone over the internet. Due to the growing demand of cloud solutions including platform enablement/provision, solution providers have customized their platform products according to the application to be developed or deployed, service delivery, cost, scalability and collaboration requirement.
Different PaaS solutions available in the market are:
Social Application Development Platforms:
These PaaS solution stacks enable the development of applications which utilize the collaborative platforms of Social websites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo. These platforms provide API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) that facilitate the integration of user’s application with the website’s platforms, enabling user to execute that application integrated with its platform.
Web Based Application Add-On Platforms:
These offerings provide the customization of an existing Software as a Service ( SaaS) or addition of features/components in a packaged application like Microsoft Word, Lotus Notes etc. Google provides API to utilize its calendar, docs, mapping and other services, as an add-on or customize application.
Stand Alone Business Application platforms:
These platforms provide the large, scalable, complex and available platform to design and deploy essential business oriented applications that require reliability, security and scalability. They provide generalized development environment without incurring the cost of software licensing, hardware acquisition and maintenance expenditure to the customer.
Open Computing Platforms:
Such a platform enables the development of applications with the liberty to use virtually any programming language, database, operating system and server. Providers provision computing power and storage requirements, allowing developers to deploy their developed application onto the cloud. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud provides storing and processing capabilities, scaled up and down easily according to the growing or decreasing requirements of the application.
How Business can benefit from Cloud Computing?
Platform as a Service solution stacks provide significant benefits for the business with extensive savings in upfront cost of installing such a development platform, improved productivity & profits, zero maintenance, decreased operational costs, global access to information using internet and many others. Among the chief benefits and driving parameters for PaaS adoptions are:
Up Front Cost – Platform as a Service provides significant cost reduction in the development, deployment and hosting of business applications. There is hardly any cost involved in hosting the application on rented platform, and you pay only for what you use. Businesses don’t need to worry about the large capital cost incurred to host a large scale application, saving investment on computing, storage, middleware and internetworking devices.
Operational Cost – The development platform being provided, hosted and managed by the provider not only brings in zero infrastructure cost but also removes the maintenance cost associated in controlling such a large computing resource. The platform provider manages all hardware, software patching and update, physical & software security and day to day routine operational tasks.
Reliability- Platform as a Service provides enhanced reliability of development stack, where in the case of a faulty server or any hardware device, the transition is quick and easy, mostly without interruption. Also these solutions are built upon the best industry standards and managed under a signed Service Level Agreement that ensures constant availability of the underlying platform.
Management – PaaS provides enhanced monitoring capabilities by centralizing all resources utilized for the solution deployed, automating their management & provisioning. PaaS eliminates the need for maintaining the data centre/production environment as back-end engineering & constraints are always resolved & maintained by the provider, freeing customer from updating and maintaining the development platform.
Strategic Advantage– The ever increasing and limitless computing resources give a competitive edge over competitors where procurement time for new computing resources is virtually zero. Organizations can take advantage of the scalable and on-demand Cloud infrastructure, whenever they need it, reducing the provisioning time required at traditional in-house data centre. PaaS provides strategic advantage, by shifting businesses towards their primary goals rather than to worry about the platform required for their key applications to execute.
Lower Risk- PaaS adoption gives virtually zero risk by eliminating the hefty capital investment required to build & operate infrastructure for facilitating thousands of users. An organization simply needs an internet browser to tap in the massive computing resource, and paying only for the portion utilized.
Cloud Computing brings many promises in the coming times, with a paradigm shift towards computing resources that are not purchased but rented; and available & scalable however required. Platform as a Service will be among the primary cloud service models, enabler of custom or packaged software applications which are accessible globally via internet. Business of any size can rapidly take advantage of PaaS offering for development & hosting of their business applications on an ever available, reliable, scalable and secure development platform.