Some people call us risk takers, others label us pioneers. As a small software development firm, some days we’re both. I’d like to share how a growing trend in cloud computing called platform as a service is helping us accelerate innovation and deliver more business value faster.
Firms are buying different computing resources “as a service” – software, infrastructure and now platform as a service, or PaaS. PaaS is unique because it offers a foundation of common application services, tools and templates to rent and build powerful software applications quickly. With PaaS, I can purchase my entire application environment – development, test and delivery – as a service.
If your organization develops applications – for your own use or for clients – PaaS is a big deal.
PaaS is changing the way we design, deploy and support our software, and even who we hire. PaaS also provides major advantages beyond lower costs. I’m talking about flexibility, innovation, and growing the top line. Think of PaaS as a bridge, it helps to:
Move ideas from development to delivery faster. You don’t have to navigate the river without resources. Nor do you have to build the bridge piece by piece, configuring all that technology and figuring out if it all works together. With PaaS, you zoom along, on a bridge that’s already built, tested and ready to use – at the click of a button on a browser. For us, PaaS is all about accelerating innovation in our software and delivering it to the market faster.
Scale success across the business more rapidly. Often, when we develop software for one division at a client’s company, other divisions also ask for access to the application. Their initial answer used to be “no.” Too difficult, software license issues and accounting challenges abound. With PaaS’s multi-tenant nature, it’s now a no-brainer to open applications up. The bridge has a high capacity.
Drive toward faster, more consistent, higher-quality ways of delivering applications. PaaS can clone an environment instantly. We can start right to work on an exact copy of the production instance – no reconfigurations, no loading data. With traditional IT approaches, configurations tend to differ across environments – the development machine under Bob’s desk is quite different from the production data center. That variance is a recipe for problems.
Let me share some before and after comparisons.
We now mock up actual functionality while sitting in meetings with the end user – rather than collecting some requirements, going back to our offices and returning with something in a few days.
We went from taking a week to get production and software into the hands of users to a couple of hours via PaaS.
Applications that used to take months or a year to roll out across different divisions can now be deployed in weeks.
We still face some philosophical and technical challenges around education, existing infrastructure, and developing strategies to move to a PaaS environment, but overall, PaaS is a much welcomed bridge to smarter application development.
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