A Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud computing model allows you to rent not only storage space on a server, but also space to run programs as well as operating systems and software, all of which is stored on a cloud. Developers hail this computing option for how easy it makes setting up a test environment for new apps, and the mobile enterprise sees potential for productivity on the go with the help of rented virtual computers. For smaller businesses, the freedom PaaS offers can make it a very attractive technology solution. As with any technology, however, there are pros and cons to using a PaaS as a small or medium business.
You’ve probably hated those moments when you were getting up to leave from a meeting with your laptop and you go to shut down and instead have to wait 15 minutes while your computer processes a system update. While you may still have those problems with a laptop on a PaaS, you never have to worry about ensuring that you have the latest system, software and driver updates. Updates are automatically taken care of for you.
Utilizing a single vendor for your services can lead to decreased overall costs. Having multiple and sometimes even redundant hardware can increase your costs significantly. A PaaS allows you to put it all in one place, and your budget reaps the benefits.
You won’t have to worry about compatibility among your hardware and software. Since a single vendor is taking care of all of that for you, you’ll be sure that everything works well together.
Teams Can Collaborate From Afar
Anyone in any location has the ability to work on software projects. No matter where you have an employee, he or she can login and get to work, instantly seeing updates from others who might be halfway around the world. This creates an environment of productivity that is unparalleled in any other system.
Depending on the offerings of the company providing your PaaS, you could be locked into a specific software environment, language or interface. This can affect some, not all, providers and should be investigated thoroughly alongside your specific requirements for a development environment to ensure you will not be locked into a system that doesn’t meet your needs.
A potential pitfall of PaaS is the inflexibility that some offerings may have with regard to businesses whose needs are constantly in a state of flux. If you have any plans of growing (or shrinking) significantly in the near future, you might want to avoid PaaS systems that don’t scale well or offer easy options for increased space and power.
According to a recent Forbes article, “PaaS saves developers and their clients tons of time and money.” And, when you look at an example like OpenStack, you can see the amazing benefits you can get from using a PaaS. OpenStack is an open cloud that allows anyone access to their technology with the end goal of creating a universal cloud operating system and setting the standards for clouds. OpenStack eliminates some of the cons of a PaaS system by allowing for a scalable offering.
Even though your PaaS may give you the protection of backup software services, it’s always important to perform your own server backups, too. The PaaS servers can be defenseless against the same types of catastrophes like fire or natural disasters that your server can fall victim to. It’s also possible that something could just go wrong with the server and you could lose all of your important data. Having a redundant backup is priceless.
About the author: Dawn Altnam lives and works in the Midwest, and she enjoys following the business tech world. After furthering her education, she has spent some time researching her interests and blogging of her discoveries often. Follow her on Twitter! @DawnAltnam