Development: how to choose your Paas

If you look at the Paas solutions market, there are two models: privately, hosted on site or in a private cloud; and public, hosted by a third party and billed according to a subscription model. But this is only a partial view of this segment. Paas can also be viewed from another angle – its proximity to cloud environments.

And in this context, there are two models, according to the consultant Judith Hurwitz, who has been observing the Cloud market for a long time. The first model is the Paas, anchored to a specific Saas environment, as is the case with Force.com and Heroku Enterprise at Salesforce. The second model is platforms attached to a particular cloud environment, such as AWS and Elastic Beanstalk. To this I also add decorrelated offers from all environments, like Engine Yard or Apprenda for example.

As business confidence in cloud providers has improved – especially in security – adoption of Paas has also followed the same path for application development. Paas spending, while a small part of the total cloud market, is growing at a rapid pace. A MarketsAndMarkets study even claims that the global Paas market is expected to represent $ 6.94 billion in 2018, with an annual growth rate of 32.54%!

Anchoring Paas to the Saas, the first model described by Judith Hurwitz, allows “to extend the brand by proposing an extended and protected ecosystem,” she explains. “This is the easiest, fastest, and most secure way for ISVs and developers to build custom applications for these environments alone. The idea is not new: in 2011, Workday, a specialist in HR and financial management applications, presented its own Paas as the Workday Integration Cloud Platform.

With the second model, the Paas are tightly coupled to a runtime cloud environment and go beyond the application service. “If you want to develop applications only on a dedicated technology like AWS, Azure or Bluemix, that’s a logical choice,” she says. For example, if your company has a strong skill or a large portfolio of .NET applications, choosing Microsoft Azure seems like a natural choice.

However, this landscape is undergoing a certain upheaval, she says. “If the Paas coupled with specific platforms are still there, we now see a rise in Cloud Foundry, as standard,” she says.

Understand the contours of the project

The key argument for choosing the right Paas is to fully understand the project’s outline, argues Dave McCrory, CTO of Basho Technologies, the creator of the NoSQL Riak database. No Paas answers all the constraints, and that sometimes requires to combine several platforms.

“There are several types of Paas, because the scenarios for application development are also different,” he adds. And taking the same arguments on Judith Hurwitz, he says that Force.com is related to the Salesforce environment. According to him, Heroku is different: “You upload everything you want to execute. This Paas is not as related to Salesforce as Force.com. ”

According to Dave McCrory, other Paas are more closely linked to the infrastructure, taking the example of Mesosphere. “It’s a Paas service, close to the physical layer of the network. ”

Another example is AWS Lambda, described by AWS as “a new way to develop and run applications in the cloud.” Even if it is not a classic Paas, it is based on the principle of snippets of code that connect together other pieces of code, “says the specialist. “You do not create a large program, but a series of small widgets. As with other Paas, the ambition of this tool is to accelerate developments and simplify maintenance, he says.

But, he adds, regardless of the type of Paas chosen to accelerate developments and deployments, it is important to keep in mind that Paas is only one component of a development. “The trend is to have a built-in workflow from start to finish, from the cloud IDE on which you can code to the source repository, such as GitHub, to test and deployment automation tools. . ”

Among developers, switching to a Paas model is a matter of acceleration of developments and updates in production, says the specialist. “Gain: You trade these heavy updates for smaller, incremental changes. ”

A system can run for months and plant with a simple update. As Twitter experienced in January 2016: a deployment caused a failure of 6 hours. Involved “an internal code change”. Another update solved the problem. “When you have problems after an update and are on a Paas, you can easily revert to an earlier version of the code and identify the change at the source of the problem,” says McCrory. “This is much more powerful than a 6-month update cycle that involves rolling out a train of changes. (With this approach), the system can remain down for days, the time to look for the faulty code. ”

Although the concept of Paas has been slow to take because of security and performance concerns, Judith Hurwitz believes that in the end it is accepted today. “From independent developers to small departments to large businesses, Paas seems to be inevitable for cloud application development,” she says. “You can run your application instantly, test your code and choose the language of your choice. As a development methodology, Paas is here for a long time.

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