Whether you're looking to start a new business or expand an existing one, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions can be an attractive way to manage and develop not just your IT infrastructure but also the software to run it.
As with IaaS and SaaS, PaaS is a world of services in which you do not need to buy expensive IT hardware, but instead pay for virtual server resources according to your needs. More than that, the software to manage it all is provided as part of the package.
This can make it especially economic because like other cloud computing services, PaaS is scaleable, so you don't have big upfront costs to start with. It can also be much more efficient when the same PaaS provider also includes the software required to manage your virtual resources. This means no worries about whether software or hardware upgrades might cause problems with your IT equipment.
Additionally, PaaS means not having to worry about limits either in terms of computing power or cloud storage, plus because everything is run through a single platform it makes data analysis, reporting, and analytics much easier and simpler to work with.
Setting up your own virtual platform can come with challenges, however. You will need a degree of expertise to set up. Yet the benefits still outweigh the costs, especially in the short to mid-term, and most vendors will allow a trial period to ensure that their solution works for you.
Here we'll therefore feature the best in PaaS service platforms.
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Microsoft Azure not only offers platform as a service but also software as a service and infrastructure as a service. With Azure, clients can use the services purely on the cloud or it can be combined with any existing applications, data centre or infrastructure you may already have in place.
Azure’s PaaS was one of the solutions early offering which later included IaaS. Many cloud providers are blurring the lines between PaaS and IaaS. Microsoft Azure is no stranger to this idea of mixing and matching both services.
Microsoft Azure can be used to deploy a wide variety of provisioned and managed infrastructures using its PaaS solution. It can fit any of your business needs such as storage, networking, and web hosting. The utility fully manages all of your platform needs.
The platform gives you the freedom to move away from having your servers based on premises which can reduce costs. This removes the need for an on-site support team as this is all now looked after by Microsoft Azure.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud-based program for building business solutions using integrated web services. Amazon Web Services offer much more than just PaaS services. They give users access to a wide range cloud services such as content delivery and database storage.
As part of your subscription to AWS users have access to ‘AWS Elastic Beanstalk’. This gives developers an easy way to deploy services.
Once you have uploaded all your applications, everything else from load balancing to auto-scaling is handled by Elastic Beanstalk. The service scales your application based on the resources needed.
AWS has three different pricing models; ‘Pay as you Go’, ‘Save when you reserve’ and ‘Pay less using more’. To get prices for all these you need to contact Sales directly.
The Google Cloud is Google's cloud service platform from which you can set up all your PaaS needs. With this highly intuitive engine, Google Cloud handles the management of resources for you.
With Google Cloud you can use Google’s web services to build a highly customized solution to meet all your company’s needs, such as to support application development as well as use built-in managed services for activities such as email and user management. The service can run and manage monitoring, scaling and hosting.
As Google Cloud relies heavily on Linux, it helps to be familiar with the Linux command line. This will make the process of setting up firewalls, gateways and routers much smoother.
IBM Cloud is another major cloud service platform that aims to help business connect applications, data, and infrastructure in a seamless manner, not least where legacy systems need to work with more modern event-driven ones.
Data can be easily synced to work both in the cloud and on-premise, as well as be combined into APIs to make it easier for different applications to work with it.
Prebuilt templates corresponding to different workflows can be combined to automate processes, such sales data in one application being sent to an email application to automatically create a communications link in another application.
Additionally, there's also monitoring to ensure that workflows work as expected and can be easily amended both to changing needs, KPIs, or the addition of new software applications.
The whole process is more about working with business logic rather than worrying about the underlying architecture, and with all apps integrated it makes it easier to adapt and match capabilities to get the maximum performance and increase productivity.
Oracle Cloud Platform (OCP) is part of Oracle Cloud, which is belongs to the Oracle Corporation, founded in 1977.
Oracle Cloud Platform works as a combination of open source technology and Oracle technology. This enable users to more efficiently build, deploy, integrate and manage all of your platform applications.
The solution uses a mixture of machine learning and AI to provide a service that offers self-repairing abilities. It also reduces business start-up costs and offers predictive insights.
Oracle boasts of having the largest PaaS portfolio of the cloud vendors around. Oracle believes their platform lowers costs and reduces complexity.
All of your data and applications can be integrated. The solution enables the user to migrate all processes to the cloud. Everything is managed via a single platform. All data is encrypted by default.
Oracle Cloud Platform claims their solution does everything for you. This saves time on repetitive tasks such as system maintenance, deploying solutions and necessary updates.
Also consider these PaaS solutions
OpenStack is an open source IT infrastructure project that provides the tools and software for managing your own public or private clouds. While it may not sound so straight-forward as some of the other options featured, it does allow you more control and you can better leverage your IT knowledgebase here. In other words, rather than being reliant on pre-existing modules you can build and customize your own according to your needs. And as it's open source, you can have full control over every feature of the process.
Apache Cloudstack is another open source cloud platform, that allows you to have complete control over how you manage your infrastructure. Like Open Stack, this means you can take control of a large number of virtual machines and make it scaleable to your needs. Additionally, Apache Cloudstack integrates with a number of hypervisors for cloud deployment and development, and offers both a web interface as well as command line and a full-featured RESTful API.
Wasabi is one of the bigger independents in the cloud market. While its platform isn't as strong as Azure or AWS, it does deliver on a much cheaper price. It's also much easier to use and set up, which makes Wasabi something to consider if you run a small or medium business and have limited IT expertise behind you, yet need to be able to handle, manage, and deploy a secure cloud environment without too many technical challenges.
Alibaba Cloud is another significant player in the market and one everyone overlooks. However, Alibaba boasts a truly comprehensive range of services via its elastic computing, database services, networking, and CDN solutions. It also offers a free trial covering 16 products, while advertising another 20 or more as "always free". In addition to that, the company also gives you a $300 (£230) credit for trying out its services.
Cloud Linux isn't so much a cloud computing provider, but rather a cloud platform you can build across your own servers. This means that if you'd prefer to have tight control over your cloud network rather than going with third-parties, you can host it yourself. While this presents a different set of challenges, it also offers a range of benefits, especially for those companies already heavily invested in their own IT infrastructure.
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