To get an application up and running in the cloud, many hours can be spent by the developer configuring various technical components. Not only are these processes time consuming and costly, they also take time away from actually building Software. That time could be better spent designing and implementing solutions to the client’s specific business problems. In the last several years, a better way has emerged. As cloud technology evolved, so called platform-as-a-service (PaaS) tools have come to the forefront of software application development. Twentyseven Global’s software engineering team is increasingly utilizing Paas functionalities.
Types of Platform-as-a-Service Currently in Use
Twentyseven Global’s Matt Henley, vice president of client services in Kansas City, and the Twentyseven Global Architecture team have lead the charge for implementing PaaS for a variety of client projects. Henley said, “Almost all of our current projects have a PaaS component. As most of our clients are in the mid-market, public PaaS is a highly cost-effective and turnkey option for application development. A few of the PaaS providers we use regularly are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Heroku. We’re also piloting some projects using Google App Engine PaaS environment”.
Key Advantages of Platform-as-a-Service
According to Henley, two key advantages of PaaS are cost-effectiveness and time-to-market. There are many common functions within an any custom software application that that need to be built out. For a software developer to install and configure those functions, and manage the scalability, redundancy and backup themselves, the time and money required can quickly add up. PaaS provides those tools in a cost-effective, turnkey manner. Moreover, Henley emphasized the quicker speed to market provided by PaaS. He said, “These platforms help our clients get focus less time on infrastructure and get more quickly to building software. Many of our projects have common needs and functionalities, so there is no need to rebuild them each time around.”
Examples of Client Success with PaaS
Henley said one of the most successful implementations of PaaS is with Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). “We use Amazon RDS to speed up application development time. Traditionally, software development would work with IT Operations and/or DBA groups to design and implement a replication and/or clustering strategy to support scalability of the relational database. But with PaaS databases (or DBaaS) the development team can quickly and easily provision database environments that can scale over time without administrative overhead involved with traditional SQL servers.” Henley continued that modern PaaS provide out-of-box database backup strategies as well as better reliability than individually hosted databases.
Beyond DB PaaS, Twentyseven Global is also leveraging function specific PaaS tools. Examples include Amazon’s Cognito and Simple Queue Service (SQS) that support identity management and message queuing, respectively. Henley said, “In the past, we would manually build custom user identity management and data models. Those are nuanced flows and domain objects; things like password resets, two factor authentication, Single Sign On (SSO), etc. are necessary components of just about every modern web and mobile application. Cognito packages all of those functions into a pre-built yet highly configurable, cost-effective platform that we can quickly leverage.” Similarly, Henley added that utilizing SQS saves countless hours and expense of building and managing their own message queuing middleware. “There used to be entire consulting practices built around enterprise middleware. You can now accomplish the same functionality in minutes through point-and-click configuration.”
Above all, Henley reiterated Twentyseven Global’s mission to launch applications faster and more cost effectively. He continued, “Reuse is one of the key tenets of all good engineering, and PaaS is a natural progression of that concept to the cloud. We like PaaS and similar technologies because it allows us to focus on the client’s unique business challenges and less time reinventing the wheel,”
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