Implementing cloud computing through a platform is one of the most popular options for businesses today in online transactions. Largely different from software based cloud computing, platforms are basically programming languages or applications that could be customized based on the need of the enterprise. Because the platforms are geared towards different functionalities needed by the enterprise, they are dubbed as platform as a service or PaaS.
Before going further, it is important to differentiate PaaS to SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS are applications that could be used in the could by different enterprise. They already have predefined functions and the enterprise would only need to adapt to these functions. Paas on the other hand, provides the basic platform wherein developers and the enterprise have to design from the scratch or the preloaded functions.
Characteristics of Platform Cloud Computing
Full Application Development Cycle – PaaS is not just launching an application online. It will require planning, coding and testing before they are fully implemented for proper use. This will take time and resources which should be expected since PaaS is keen on implementing customized functions and services for the specific enterprise.
Powerful Integration – The online application built by developers should never be the final version. Updates should be available and different forms of integration should be available for the application. This is necessary for PaaS as the application will require the application to be highly intricate with data hosted in the server. Through integration, Mash-up of different application is possible.
Collaboration and Instrumentation – The development of PaaS should not be limited to a team of developers alone. Adaptation of the application is very important since it will ensure ease of development for other developers as well as maintenance when the new developer takes over.
Through collaboration, instrumentation of functions becomes possible. This will even give developers and PaaS providers to sell certain functions.
Forms of Cloud Computing Platforms
The forms PaaS could be easily distinguished based on how they are developed and the requirements a vendor would provide to the enterprise.
Development through Preloaded Functions
There are Platform as a Service providers that concentrate in providing developers preloaded functions. They are often considered as proprietary functions wherein the work of developers is only limited to getting the functions together. The vendor will provide everything and the developers will just have to study the functions and how they could be related to the need of the enterprise.
Development through Web Hosting
This type of service in PaaS is the most basic in this form of cloud computing. Developers will have to look for a programming language that could be launched in the server, build different functions and integrate the data located in the server. The role of PaaS provider is to host the functions and prevent it from possible downtime. This type of service concentrates in ensuring the data is available 24/7 and the functions will work as expected.
Development through Frameworks
There are developers who opted to use frameworks in building an application. These frameworks are tools in building application wherein the coding is on the native programming language of the developer. But with the help of the framework, the native coding will be translated to another programming language fit for PaaS. Good examples of this type of development are frameworks for Ajax based applications and Ruby on Rails.
Advantage/Disadvantages of Cloud Computing Platform
The main advantage of platform development through cloud computing is on the cost of development and deployment. Since the applications that come from PaaS will be launched online, little to no requirement will be made on the client side.
On the other hand, cloud computing platform might not have the ability to adapt to different changes on the demand of the enterprise. This is especially true when the application is made through proprietary function from the vendor. Developers have to carefully inspect the history of updates of the vendor to ensure compatibility to the different needs of the enterprise.