image by Ulrike Mai

For a while, it looked like cloud computing, the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model in particular, would be one of the many casualties of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. However, more than a decade later, the PaaS model is stronger than ever. Not only has 2019 been off to a promising start but the researchers from Gartner are now predicting that the PaaS market will double by the end of 2022.

According to the latest information, there are currently close to 400 PaaS providers offering more than 550 different PaaS-based services. In addition, many companies are choosing to develop their own PaaS.

In this article, we will look at the current state of the PaaS market and consider the pros and cons of developing your own PaaS as opposed to opting for one of the public cloud-based solutions. But first, here’s a quick overview of the main cloud computing models and what each of them involves.

§The Three Key Cloud Computing Models

When discussing cloud computing, we are usually talking about one of the following three models:

  1. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  2. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

While PaaS isn’t the most common of the three models (that distinction goes to SaaS), it is by far the fastest-growing. With this method, providers give you an already developed and functional framework to create and manage your software without having to worry about any maintenance – that’s taken care of by your PaaS provider. Although you get to keep ownership of your software and may even get access to the tools to deploy and test your apps, you have no control over hardware or the operating system.

As already mentioned, SaaS is the most common of the three models, and as its name suggests, it is all software-based. Users access everything via their web browsers and don’t have to worry about hosting, perform regular updates, or download and install any software on their machine. With SaaS, you get a more cost-efficient solution that will relieve your IT team of time-consuming management duties. However, if the system experiences downtime, your IT team will have to wait for the provider to fix it.

Finally, there is IaaS, a model that involves the most responsibilities and management work for users. Under this model, the provider uses virtualization technologies to deliver the infrastructure with all the physical hardware installed and taken care of. Everything else is in the hands of the end user. While this gives users most control of their data, it also puts them in charge of handling their own runtime and operating system, as well as taking care of system security.

§What to Expect from a PaaS Provider in 2019

Although different providers offer different perks and benefits, most of them offer the same core services. When looking for a PaaS provider in 2019, you should always look for the following services:

§Full Database Management

If you’re looking for a PaaS solution, you expect your provider to take full care of the infrastructure, including database and security management. Your provider should be able to ensure data privacy and handle all the necessary compliances.

§Support for Multiple Programming Languages

A good PaaS provider won’t limit you to just one or two most popular programming languages. Instead, they’ll give you the freedom to develop your apps in your preferred language, whatever it may be. There are many platforms out there that support languages from Python and Ruby on Rails to Java and Scala.

§Developer-Friendly Environment

As a software developer, you want your PaaS provider to give you access to all the tools you need to produce high-quality apps and software. This includes testing, debugging, and employment tools. What’s more, good PaaS providers also give you full control of the development process, allow you to test and implement changes in record time, and independently scale every single component of your app.

§Focus on Mobile

When looking for a good PaaS solution, you also shouldn’t overlook the mobile component. Namely, your provider of choice should give you access to a range of options to design, develop, and deliver mobile apps.

Of course, these are only some of the key services you can – and should – expect from any PaaS provider worth their salt in 2019. In addition, many platforms also allow you to build apps using the so-called drag-and-drop method, thus ensuring that even business users with no programming skills can develop software for their needs. Plus, most providers give you access to their own marketplaces where you can find apps and add-ons that allow for easier and more effective management of your PaaS.

§Should You Build Your Own PaaS?

Despite the sheer number of publicly available PaaS solutions, some businesses opt to build their own PaaS. Most businesses choose to do this to gain full control of their system and eliminate the potential security concerns that exist with some public PaaS providers. But is this really that good an idea in 2019?

That really depends on how much time, resources, and money you are willing to invest in building and maintaining your PaaS. You see, a PaaS involves five major components – infrastructure (network, storage, firewalls, etc.), operations (e.g. inventory and finance reporting), continuous delivery (blue/green deployment, artifact repository, etc.), data and middleware (HTTP, proxies, databases, etc.), and perhaps most importantly security (data protection, threat detection, certificate management, etc.).

If you’re willing to take on this task and set up a team that will help build, launch, and continuously maintain your own PaaS, you can give it a try. Keep in mind, however, that it is a major commitment. If anything goes wrong – and it sometimes will – you stand to lose a lot. As such, it is important to understand what you’re getting yourself into before making any decisions that could hurt your business.

§The Decision Is Yours to Make

Don’t be discouraged by what you’ve just read. As with everything in business, the decision is yours to make. If you decide to create your own platform and do it successfully, you can expect better security and more control of your system overall. And if you’re still unsure about making such a big step, with almost 400 PaaS providers and counting offering top-quality services and constantly upgrading their catalog, you are sure to find at least one solution that is perfect for your company.