Deliver Cloud Apps Better, Faster, Cheaper: PaaS of the Future
Are you still using the same old software development tools for your cloud application development? Can they take full advantage of the cloud? Software development tools are changing to meet the new demands for automated elasticity, sophisticated rules engines, orchestration across heterogeneous clouds, and support for a different software development lifecycle (SDLC) model. Welcome to the brave new world of Platform as a Service (PaaS), where new tools make development in the cloud that much faster and better—if not easier. PaaS development environments allow savvy companies to deliver applications more effectively by enforcing development tools standards, make component reuse simpler by creating a true service-oriented architecture framework, and improve the management of the development lifecycle. These tools can be used to enforce QA processes, code reviews, operational handoffs from development to production, and a host of other methods to improve the messy process of building working software. Many consider Cloud Foundry to be the most mature and widely used of the open source products. Not only is it supported by VMware, but several vendors, ActiveState being a notable example, have taken the basic Cloud Foundry platform and added much needed enterprise-ready features. Some tools, such as AppFirst, have built-in SDLC tools similar to enterprise systems workflow engines in addition to the monitoring tools. Microsoft’s Azure is probably the poster child of a fully integrated PaaS system. They even argue that they created the notion, but of course it only works—you guessed it—in Windows environments. On the other hand, ServiceMesh has a full complement of software development, orchestration, and operational management tools built into their products, but the steep price of entry makes it a viable option for only the largest enterprise development shops. Others—like CumuLogic, FeedHenry, and CloudBees—offer more affordable PaaS platforms sold using the SaaS model, without the orchestration layers and other bells and whistles. Future PaaS tools will have even better coordination across internal and public cloud environments, fully integrated SDLC orchestration, and cloud brokering tools. In the meantime, the existing tools have plenty of features that appeal to any developer working in a cloud environment. For most businesses, what really counts are the applications and how fast they can be launched to catch the next business opportunity. There is increasing interest in the cloud community for using cloud integrated tools sets and platforms that help developers remain focused on building the applications that at the end of the day deliver the goods and pay the bills. By adopting a PaaS environment that addresses the need for cloud-ready tools, a company can respond to market needs and business objectives far more easily than ever before.