Cloud // Software as a Service
News
10/1/2009
02:45 PM
50%
50%

The Risks And Benefits Of Platform As A Service

Weigh these issues before you make a decision.

From Dr. Dobb's Report

RISKS


Vendor Lock-In
There are a small number of platform-as-a-service vendors today, and most have interests rooted in building a binding relationship through a comprehensive offering. Vendors such as Microsoft have been doing this for decades, and if the vendor remains viable and relevant and responds to the user community, it's generally a benefit for both parties.

Technical Immaturity
Every cloud framework has its own interface methods, services, and costs. The unfolding nature of the platform-as-a-service approach puts everything at risk--costs could change overnight, services could be dropped, and quality of service could worsen. Standards bodies are just beginning to look at the market. Would you bet a critical business application on such a new arrival?

Privacy And Control
Vendors generally offer extensive protection methods, and it's in their interests to offer high levels of security. PaaS often provides a relatively sophisticated suite of access controls. But you, not the vendor, still own the risk.

Misjudging "Flexibility Versus Power"
Generally, you want more flexibility over design, development, and deployment for a custom system such as a new profit center--and PaaS doesn't offer flexibility. Instead, it gives power and ready-made services. The trade-offs are similar to the ones for outsourcing.

BENEFITS


Testing Is Deployment
The U.S. Army vows to "fight like we train and train like we fight." For development teams, that translates to test like they deploy and deploy like they tested. Cloud computing gets them very close--trying multiple machines, different configurations, and different locations; running stress tests; and testing compatibility, performance, and response in ways impossible in a local environment.

Dynamic Allocation
To compete with the pace set by the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and Google, modern IT teams must be able to all but flip a switch to turn up a new service or features, or test it on a small segment of customers. Before cloud computing, that was unthinkable. Now business IT teams can approach the "perpetual beta" for which Google is known.

Internal Entrepreneurship
The biggest strategic benefit is that developing through platform as a service, combined with quick deployment on infrastructure online, can empower visionaries in any part of the company. Consider creating a cloud budget, letting teams experiment with cloud computing resources, and see what they dream up.

Dana Moore is a division scientist at BBN Technologies.

Go to the main story:
Platform As A Service: What Vendors Offer

Read an extended version of this article at Dr. Dobbs.com

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
ITSM as we know it is dead. SaaS helped kill it, and CIOs should be thankful. Hereís what comes next.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.