A Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution is among the best ways for enterprises to build apps quickly and maintain them properly, as I’ve written in my blog post 7 Top PaaS Benefits for Organizations. But it can be tough to choose the right one for your organization, especially if you’re looking for one specifically designed for building and deploying apps, called Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS). The best advice I’ve found on how to choose the right PaaS is Gartner’s report, Seven Key Criteria for Selecting Application Platform as a Service. Following are highlights of the report’s recommendations.
Decide between a Provider-Managed and a Self-Managed aPaaS
A provider-managed aPaaS is run by the vendor, while in a self-managed aPaaS your company does it. Gartner says a provider-managed aPaaS is best when an enterprise wants a full cloud experience, and prefers someone else to handle infrastructure. Self-managed is best for those for whom DevOps productivity is paramount instead of a cloud experience, and a company prefers to manage its own infrastructure.
Choose either a High-Control or High-Productivity aPaaS
A high-control aPaaS handles the provisioning of the details of application development and operations, such as using a third-generation language and controlling application resources such as server locations. A high-productivity aPaaS minimizes coding overheads through low-code or no-code approaches. High-control aPaases are best when professional developers are available, and complex services are needed that aren’t based on standard models and approaches. High-productivity aPaaSes are best when enterprises are looking for the fastest time to market, the lowest ramp-up time, and want to use the skills of non-developers. This kind of aPaaS is often best suited for mobile development.
Check out Development Language, Model and Framework Preferences
Each aPaaS supports different languages and frameworks, so make sure to check that your aPaaS matches your needs, such as for Java EE, Spring, Microsoft .NET and Rails.
Consider “Cloudiness Benefits”
The cloud offers a variety of benefits, including elastic scaling on demand, high performance with low latency, provider-assured high availability and disaster recovery, and continuous global accessibility. Decide which of these types of cloud benefits are important to your organization, and rate each aPaaS vendor accordingly.
Examine Your Architecture Requirements
What kind of architecture requirements do you have? Do you need hybrid services, which combine on-premises and cloud-based services? Portable services between on-premises and cloud in both directions? Event-driven or real-time application architectures such as for IoT? Make sure you detail your architecture needs and choose the aPaas that best matches them.
Look at aPaaS Functional Capabilities
Is support for building specific user interfaces for mobile and web apps important to you? Do you need to work with specific databases such as relational or NoSQL? What kind of integration and data analytics services do you require? Match all of that and other functional requirements to your aPaas.
Examine the Business Arrangements
aPaaS models vary by pricing model, SLAs and the kind price of support you’ll receive. Carefully examine those as well as other important factors such as the vendor ecosystem you’ll be buying into, and whether the aPaaS offers a business value or per-use pricing model.
Get more details about the Gartner report on choosing an aPaaS.
To see the most important benefits you’ll get from a PaaS, see my previous blog post, 7 Top PaaS Benefits for Organizations.
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