Tech offerings related to cloud computing fall into three popular streams: Software as a Service (Saas), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
In a TechGig.com webinar, Satheesan Varier, consulting architect-Cloud Computing at OSRDG, explains how PaaS can propel emerging entrepreneurship in India. PaaS is an infrastructure software to build, deploy, serve, monitor, operate and optimize your applications. It is intermediately between the underlying system infrastructure and overlying applications software.
PaaS scores over traditional tech stack
While an application architect may look for ways to meet the application's functional requirements, these are not sufficient for an entrepreneur. What he/she needs is an assurance from the provider to meet most of the non-functional requirements such as liability, scalability and elasticity.
An application might come from someone's imagination, but the infrastructure required to run such an application is huge and sometimes, it may not be possible to scale. So the entrepreneur is worried about how good, scalable and economical can a platform be or the web serving infrastructure.
PaaS helps in this aspect. So if you are a developer, you may start looking at architecture and application and you may start making use of the services and APIs provided by PaaS. But if you are an entrepreneur or both, you will look into the capability of the platform to scale.
Some of the top PaaS vendors are Google App Engine, VMware, Amazon Web Services and Heroku. But all PaaS vendors will have their own unique selling propositions. They will have restrictions on how we can use of their platforms. It is not that some platform can make use of all technologies.
An entrepreneur's lifeline
When you are in web business, what adds value to your business is the activities around developing, testing and operating to differentiate your application from the rest.
However, there are lot of compulsions over undifferentiated non-value add hardware, software, communications, upgrades, load balancing, scaling, utilisation, server management, replication etc and of course high availability.
If you put a small indicator percentage on the effort in the traditional stack you will find around 70 per cent of the effort and cost will run into undifferentiated non-value add. And at the same time, hardly 30 per cent of the effort will be going into development, testing and operations.
That's where PaaS comes in. Most PaaS providers allow some free quota to get started to attract new developers and clients. Some providers you will find that offer a free fixed free trial period that's a bit catchy we do not know really when we start with an application and what will be the cost.
However, when you evaluate various PaaS vendors, the granularity and transparency in billing your consumptions shows the level of sophistication your PaaS provider has attained. That is one of the best measures you can always make use of, when you try to compare and contrast various Paas vendors.
Business means platform
Next is business strategy. In technology business, your business grows with a platform. If you are into mobile application development business, you may choose Apple as a platform or you may choose Android as a platform where your development skills and ability to development applications will be understood and you will also try to understand the platform.
Similarly, when it comes to web applications, you may choose Microsoft Azure or you may choose Google App Engine or any other platform. So evaluate various platforms, choose your platform and understand the roadmap for your platform which is important. Even in consulting, you should really tell your customers that what a roadmap is going to be for the product. Then next step will be developing expertise on the platform, technologies and languages supported useful third party libraries and tools.
Reusable software assets improve your productivity. You can start rolling out applications and nurture ideas. All significant platforms that grow fast and exploit new possibilities will bring competitive edge on your application business.