Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a key area of cloud computing that was majorly sidelined by analysts and developers. In the current scenario, things have started to change significantly.
According to Markets and Markets, the global PaaS market is expected to attain a market value of around $ 164.3 Bn by the end of 2026 and grow at a CAGR of approximately 20% from 2020-2026 .
In recent years, PaaS has had a strong influence on the operational environment. A major change that can be observed within the application development and deployment space is the increasing reliance on the ‘container model’. This shift has played an important role in generating demand for PaaS.
PaaS has emerged as a game-changer in the cloud computing domain. As more and more companies move to the cloud, PaaS solutions are becoming increasingly popular.
Before we take a look at some of the best PaaS platforms or solutions, let’s try to understand exactly what PaaS is.
What is PaaS?
Platform-as-a-Service is a part of the cloud computing model that offers a solution stack and a computing platform. PaaS can also be defined as a group of tools and services developed to simplify coding and deployment applications.
In simple terms, just like any other cloud solution, a PaaS vendor designs, and hosts software tools that are detrimental to application development. It also eliminates the need to install on-premise solutions.
Common PaaS Scenarios
Companies around the world use PaaS for three main reasons.
PaaS offers a framework for developers which they can use to design or customize cloud-based applications.
Most of the cutting-edge cloud features such as multi-tenant capability, high availability, and scalability are included in Paas. This means that developers do not have to worry about spending hours coding.
If you do not know what you should do with all the data you have, you are missing out on a lot. Business intelligence offers a bird’s eye view of your business operations and provides you with insights to improve decision-making.
The various tools that come along with PaaS enable businesses to mine and analyze their data effectively. Besides, these solutions help organizations identify trends and patterns to further improve investment returns, forecasting, and product design decisions.
PaaS vendors also offer additional services that significantly improve applications such as scheduling, security, directory, and workflow.
Benefits of PaaS
PaaS offers pretty much the same benefits offered by infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). However, the extra features that come with PaaS offer more benefits than IaaS.
Let’s check these benefits out.
Reduced coding time
The development tools that come along with PaaS can considerably minimize the coding time to develop new applications. As these tools come with pre-coded application components such as security, search, directory, workflow, etc., they cut down coding time.
Easy development of various platforms
Some popular or top-tier PaaS vendors provide development options for various platforms such as mobile devices, browsers, and computers. This makes it extremely easy to develop cross-platform applications.
Advanced tools become more affordable
The pay-as-you-go model is a boon for companies and individuals who wish to use advanced development software, business intelligence, and analytics tools, but cannot purchase them at one go.
Simplify collaboration between geographically distributed teams
Since the development environment can be accessed over the internet, PaaS allows developers to work in tandem even from remote locations.
Application lifecycle management
PaaS offers all the necessary tools you need to support an entire web application lifecycle. Developing, testing, deploying, and updating in the same integrated environment are some of the key pieces of an application lifecycle.
Top Paas Solutions
Now that we are familiar with PaaS and its benefits, it is time to look at some of the best PaaS platforms.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Elastic Beanstalk
AWS is one of the best PaaS platforms and for a good reason. Besides, when we talk about cloud capabilities, very few PaaS providers come close to AWS.
Users can use Elastic Beanstalk to run web applications using a wide spectrum of programming languages such as PHP, Java, Python, and Ruby to name a few.
As a coder or a developer, working on Elastic Beanstalk is a pure joy since they can upload their code and leave the rest to AWS Elastic Beanstalk. AWS grabs the pole position because of how easy it is to use its DevOps services.
Another major benefit is that AWS consistently adds new tools. This means that you will have access to the latest tools at all times.
Salesforce ‘application Platform-as-a-Service (aPaaS) is another strong contender that is widely used by developers.
The positive reviews on the internet coupled with accolades received by Salesforce aPaaS reaffirm its high ranking. The PaaS solutions provided by Salesforce enable developers to develop multi-tenant applications.
All the development activities are performed using purpose-built solutions and a development language called Apex.
At present, Heroku is used to deploy, run, and manage applications. At first, Heroku supported only a single programming language, Ruby. However, now it has marched ahead and offers support for other languages as well including Python, PHP, Clojure, Scala, Node.js, and more.
Salesforce has admitted that developers and programmers are likely to face some difficulties while starting with aPaaS.
IBM – Bluemix
IBM Bluemix was rebranded to IBM Cloud in 2017. IBM offers an open-source PaaS solution that is based on Cloud Foundry. The main idea behind this is to ensure that users will have more control and security.
Programmers can select from a wide pool of third-party services to stretch the functionality of applications. One major advantage is that any current infrastructure can be easily migrated into Bluemix.
As of now, Python, PHP, Ruby Sinatra, Ruby on Rails are some of the available programming languages. However, if you wish to extend the support to more languages, you can do so via build packs.
A lot of players involved in the cloud computing industry offer their PaaS and IaaS components together. Microsoft uses this approach. Microsoft’s PaaS is available on the same infrastructure as Azure SaaS and IaaS.
Just like all the heavyweights mentioned in this list, Microsoft Azure ranks among the best PaaS platforms due to its cloud capabilities. The PaaS solution offers all the standard features which include, storage, infrastructure, security, OS, runtime environments, databases, analytics, and development tools.
We have already discussed why the pay-as-you-go model is the best for companies who are not looking to go all out with their spendings. Microsoft Azure offers a free trial after which you can opt for the pay-as-you-go pricing model.
Besides, detailed pricing and price estimation pool of all services on the vendor’s website simplifies decision making.
Engine Yard has moved up the ranks in recent years and its long list of clients indicates that it is not here just to make up the numbers.
One of the key forces behind Engine Yard’s success is that it customizes its PaaS solution for users. This is why Engine Yard seems like an unmovable force as far as personalization is concerned.
Engine Yard supports Microsoft Azure and AWS for distribution. Further, since the PaaS platform also runs self-contained environments, users do not have to worry about the impact of different applications on their resources.
Engine Yard offers a plethora of PaaS features such as collaboration tools, automated deployment, scalability, databases, networking infrastructure, and more.
Oracle Cloud Platform
Even before cloud computing gained popularity, Oracle was one of the torchbearers of cutting-edge software development. Today, it has also established itself as a noteworthy player in the PaaS market.
Oracle Cloud Platform is a blend of Oracle proprietary technologies and open source.
Programmers can design applications, deploy, manage, and run applications without any hurdles on the Oracle Cloud Platform. As it leverages the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the platform has critical self-repairing capabilities.
This highly reputed PaaS platform allows users to manage their application portfolio, enables integration with different applications without problems, and offers top-notch data encryption. This is why Oracle Cloud Platform is regarded as one of the most powerful PaaS solutions in the market.
Who Should Consider Buying a Cloud PaaS Solution?
Well, any organization that has a development team stands to benefit from PaaS solutions.
In our experience, tech startups around the world ace it when it comes to developing and selling software. However, they may not have the necessary budget for the maintenance of the development infrastructure.
The pay-as-you-go model offered by various PaaS providers takes the burden of infrastructure maintenance without causing a dent in their finances.
SaaS companies design and maintain one or multi-fold SaaS products. Since there is plenty of room for SaaS companies to scale, they could rely on the existing APIs available in the cloud to organize their development process.
Cloud technology is here to stay and is destined for success as it is available on the go. This is exactly why small and medium businesses along with large companies are swaying towards cloud computing and technologies.
Nearly 67% of enterprise infrastructure was cloud-based in 2020 and the number is expected to grow in the upcoming years . The cloud computing space is showing no signs of slowing down and as per the current trends, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are staring at a very bright future.
Image 1 Source: rawpixel.com
Image 2 Source: IBM
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 Azhar. F (2021) “Cloud Computing Statistics, Facts, and Trends for 2021” Way 2 Smile Solutions [online] Available from:
https://www.way2smile.ae/blog/cloud-computing-statistics-facts-trends-2021/ [accessed May 2021]