Best Platform as a Service (PaaS) in 2018

This group of software provides a platform to build and manage applications in the cloud, without having to download or install any in-house software applications that are typically required for app development. This helps businesses reduce cost by eliminating server and storage overheads, makes managing software updates easier, and enables even beginners to develop applications. Companies across a wide range of industries can use Platform-as-a-Service to develop applications useful for their business. For instance, PAAS for financial institutions can be used to develop applications for internet banking, currency exchange, mobile banking and money transfer. Key features to look for include storage utilization, centralized access control, volume management, maximum uptime, and the frequency of security updates.  Read the full software guide...


Platform as a Service Software Guide

What is Platform as a Service (PaaS) Software?

Platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS, is a software solution in the category of cloud computing services. The solution provides a fully integrated computing platform as well as a solution stack as a service.

PaaS solutions are comprised of tools and services specifically designed to make coding processes and the deployment of applications easier and much more efficient. They are essentially a solution for designing and creating software to be delivered via the web.

A PaaS solution is the ideal way to develop a highly versatile and scalable web application with a somewhat reasonable up-front investment, which is perfect for the majority of small and medium-sized businesses and organizations.

With PaaS, developers of Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, applications will be responsible for most aspects of the application, including operational work such as configuring, provisioning, managing, and updating hardware resources. These are tasks that typically involve technical skills and experience, which are made easier and more efficient when using PaaS solutions.

The advent of PaaS is intended to provide application developers a stable and user-friendly platform that essentially removes most of the complexities that are normally associated with the development process of SaaS applications.


Types of PaaS Solutions

Compared to Software-as-a-Service or SaaS, which offers a fixed set of application capabilities, PaaS essentially supports the design, creation, and use of application code with whatever is required by your business application-wise.

There is a general need for specialized code, especially when you consider so many SaaS offerings provide an application program interface, or API, to certain applications created on PaaS for further designing, customization, and extension. There are many different types of PaaS solutions available in the market, catering to a wide range of industries, requirements, and preferences.

Oracle Cloud PaaS – Oracle Cloud is designed to help enterprise IT and independent software vendors or ISV developers that want a stable and scalable platform for building and deploying web applications.

AppScale – AppScale is an easy-to-use, easy-to-manage, and server-less platform designed for creating and running truly scalable web and mobile applications on virtually any infrastructure. It allows you to easily and quickly build your app for multi-cloud deployment.

Microsoft Azure – Azure, developed by Microsoft, is a comprehensive feature-rich platform with an impressive set of cloud services that are geared towards IT professionals and developers. The solution offers a global network of data centers, DevOps, integrated tools, and a marketplace support for creating, deploying, and managing web and mobile applications.

Salesforce Platform – Salesforce Platform allows you to run your business better and more efficiently. The platform effectively bridges business users and IT teams with a full intuitive suite of tools tailored for creating applications that automate and facilitate business processes through a point, click, and build methodology.

Zoho Creator – Zoho Creator is a low-code and easy-to-use app development platform. It provides the tools and features that empower users to create and deploy enterprise-level apps that run on multiple platforms such as the web, smartphones, and tablets.

Engine Yard – Engine Yard is a comprehensive full-stack Ruby on Rails support software solution tailored for businesses and organizations that want to focus on the creation and development of applications. The platform supports a wide range of programming languages on top of Ruby on Rails, which includes PHP and Node.js environments.

Apache jclouds – Apache jclouds is a good open-source, multi-cloud solution for the Java platform. It is designed to provide users with freedom and efficiency when it comes to building apps that are portable across different cloud services, while also offering total control over cloud-specific features.


How to Choose a PaaS Solution

One of the key aspects of choosing a PaaS solution is finding the right solution that meets your needs as a business, whether it’s the features and tools or the affordability and scalability of the product.

The software development process has always been associated with complex technical skills, including the design process, programming, and system administration. If you have a project that needs a fully integrated development environment, a database, and an application server, then you need to either learn how or employ a dedicated team of technical experts to install, configure, and maintain the components involved with the system.

A good PaaS solution facilitates those otherwise complex and time-consuming processes so businesses, as well as developers, will be able to design, create, deploy, and maintain web applications as easily and efficiently as possible.

The PaaS solution you pick for your needs should be able to provide you with some relief from all the more complex aspects of software development and systems management. It should be helping you and providing you with flexibility and ease of use with your development process, from the design phase all the way to deployment and the maintenance aspect.

There are a few key considerations when finding the right PaaS solution; which programming language and server-side technologies, tools, and features will be used; will it allow for external app integration; what support will be offered; how much data storage is necessary; and what are the cost and budget limitations.

Choosing the right programming language is probably one of the most important and obvious initial steps when tackling a software development project. With that said, you have to make sure the PaaS solution you choose supports the programming languages you typically handle, as well as the server-side technologies you might need to deliver a stable and intuitive app to.

Features, fully functional tools, and app integration support are aspects you also have to consider when picking a PaaS solution. Support for developer tools and seamless integration with other third-party platforms you might already be using are key factors you need to look into when trying to evaluate PaaS products or vendors that will make a good fit to your needs and operations.

Moreover, the cost of the solution also factors in the decision-making process of most organizations, especially those with limited financial resources. Obviously, you will have to opt for a product or service that you can afford. On the other hand, cost shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when choosing a PaaS solution. PaaS is an investment and finding the right solution that serves your needs could pay dividends down the road.


Benefits of PaaS Solutions

Platform-as-a-service, at its most basic, is a broader term often used to refer to a wide range of cloud-based services. This often makes it seem more complicated for the average customer, especially when comparing and evaluating the offerings from different vendors and service providers.

The right PaaS solution allows you to design, create, deploy, and maintain web and mobile applications for your business in an easier and more efficient way. You will be able to perform all the necessary tasks and processes within a single, fully integrated platform since all of the tools and functionalities you need are readily available.

On the other hand, if there are specific tools you need that the vendor does not offer, as long as the product supports third-party app integration, you will be able to integrate any existing solution you have, thus simplifying your entire workflow from the ground up. This is why finding the right vendor or service provider that offers the tools and capabilities you need is crucial if you want to maximize the benefits of PaaS.


Common Features of Platform as a Service (PaaS)

2-Factor Authentication Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.
API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Batch Permissions & Access Control user or group access and permission settings for software or other systems.
Contact Management Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.
Contact Sharing Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Email Integration Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Google Apps Integration Integration with the G Suite, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, etc.
Malware Protection Protect your computer from malware, viruses and worms.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Password & Access Management Manage passwords or access to systems for yourself or your organisation.

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