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PaaS and the cloud

A look at PaaS and its benefits for software development and business operations

Faster development times mean faster time to market. This also means you can beat the competition when you spot a gap and gain first mover advantage. According to the old saying, nothing can ever be good, fast and cheap - you can only ever have two of the three attributes. However, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in the cloud proves otherwise. You can grab the benefits of all three, while extending your customer base and enjoying faster growth.

A key reason why PaaS confers these benefits is flexibility. Traditional ways of managing development projects meant procuring and configuring servers, allocating resources and managing licences. With virtualisation, many of these issues were swept away as hardware dependencies disappeared - but your own infrastructure was still employed, so adding virtual servers could still involve adding resources such as storage and RAM on the hosts. These are costs you may never fully amortise, as the infrastructure may sit under-used once the initial development effort is done. A PaaS cloud service on the other hand lifts that burden entirely, allowing you to provision and configure in minutes, paying only for what you use.

A cloud service also reduces cost. There are the obvious savings on purchase of infrastructure such as hardware and software, but the cost of maintenance and management will always, over time, outpace acquisition costs. With PaaS, you have no need to manage infrastructure or the software stack that supports the development effort, so the time and cost savings can be enormous.

Finding the right PaaS service should also provide access to the very latest technologies, so that the end result - your software product - is as future-proofed as it can be. PaaS gives access to experts in complex platform development, who can support and maintain your project and infrastructure without you having to find and hire them.

Reliability is critical when facing a tight delivery schedule. The right PaaS service is robust, with layers of redundancy far beyond what would normally be allocated for in-house development infrastructure.

In addition, you can enjoy all the other attributes of cloud services, such as the capacity to dial up and dial down resource usage, and the ability to benefit from the cloud provider's economies of scale. In short, PaaS can enhance innovation while reducing cost, risk and complexity.