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Technology / Cloud

10 PaaS providers – where the cloud wars are really being fought

At its core, Platform as a Service eliminates the expensive and complexity of evaluating, buying, configuring, and managing all the hardware and software that is required for custom-built applications.

It is these benefits that have seen it become an incredibly popular model for IT to use which has resulted in an extremely competitive marketplace.

Given that these PaaS solutions offer vast amounts of services and tools it would be near impossible to detail them all in one article, so CBR has provided a handy list including a couple of the most valuable features of each one.


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1. AWS Redshift

Amazon Redshift is a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service that sits in the cloud, the idea behind it is that it will free up on-premise storage and allow the business to better gain insights into the data.

The process is designed to be simple with customers launching a set of nodes and then uploading data sets and performing data analysis queries.

AWS has been working to prove that data of any size can sit happily in the cloud and that it is actually better off there.

It has had considerable success with this messaging with companies such as Philips, Yelp, Nasdaq, Nokia, Pinterest and many more using the service.


2. Salesforce

The Salesforce platform is something of a force of nature; its popularity appears to continuously grow and everyone wants to be close to it.

Salesforce’s App Cloud is one of the numerous pieces of the puzzle for the CRM company, it works by bringing together services such as and Heroku into one place for a complete set of PaaS tools.

Applications on are built by using Apex, which is a Java-like programming language, and Visualforce, an XML syntax that is typically used to generate HTML.

To stay on top of the market the company has frequently added large updates, in fact it receives three complete releases a year.

Recent additions saw a new framework for building user interfaces called Lightning components. These are built using the open-source Aura Framework and have support for Apex as the server-side language.


3. SoftwareAG LongJump

In 2013 Software AG acquired the cloud platform vendor LongJump to tap into the PaaS market, since then the company has integrated other offerings into it.

Despite the three years since the acquisition there hasn’t been a huge amount of news about the online database, CRM and PaaS solution, it appears to have disappeared into SoftwareAG as a whole.

LongJump originally had a technology stack that utilises MySQL Enterprise Edition relational database and Apache Tomcat to increase manageability. It’s appeal to developers is through its ability to offer popular codes such as Java and HTML, which make it easy for developers to extend their applications.

The SoftwareAG PaaS offerings include webMethods AgileApps, a solution for creating situational and case management apps and webMethods Integration Cloud, this is designed to be an integration PaaS for cloud-to-cloud integration and connections with a private cloud or on-premise enterprise service bus installations.


4. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure offers an extensive range of services with its PaaS offering and consists of two components, application files and a configuration file. Together these can spin up a combination of Web Roles and Worker Roles that allows the user to execute applications.

The real benefit of the Azure PaaS is how connected it is to the Microsoft ecosystem, allowing developers to tap into numerous apps. Over 50 Azure services are listed by the company including Azure Active Directory, CDN, Data Lake Analytics and many more.

Like AWS, Microsoft has built the PaaS offering so that it is easy to use and it is this ease of use combined with large functionality that makes it one of the most popular choices in the market.


5. IBM Bluemix

Bluemix was launched in 2014 with a $1bn investment by Big Blue and the company has been busy pushing it to developers and businesses ever since.

Several Bluemix garages have been opened around the world that aims to tap into the developer community. Some of the benefits of the platform include the ability to build scalable apps and APIs and its strength around analytics.

On the analytics front developers have access to MongoDB, Elasticsearch, Redis and PostgreSQL databases and tools that include Apache Spark and IBM Graph.

IBM Bluemix

One of the biggest, most forward looking technologies available though is the Watson Developer Cloud.

The Watson capabilities give developers access to cognitive computing so that features such as analysing images, video and text can be added in addition to tone analysis and visual recognition.


6. Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat’s open source PaaS offering is built to tap into the large community of developers.

OpenShift is designed to allow developers to speedily create, host, and scale applications in a cloud environment. The Enterprise 3 version is based on top of Docker containers in addition to the Kubernetes container cluster manager. It has had numerous developer and operational centric tools added to it for developers to manage the long-term lifecycle maintenance of their applications.

Red Hat Openshift

The company says that developers have the choice and ability to run multiple languages, frameworks, and databases on the platform and they can also take advantage of automation tools that help make life that little bit easier.

The languages that are supported include Jenkins, Node.js, PHP, different versions of Pythin, Ruby and Perl.


7. VMware Cloud Foundry

Originally developed by VMware and now owned by Pivotal, a joint venture by EMC, VMware and General Electric, Cloud Foundry is an open source PaaS offering

Cloud Foundry is licensed under Apache 2.0 and supports the programming languages Java, Node.js, Go, PHP, Python and Ruby. One of its most appealing benefits is that it is highly customisable, which means that developers can code in multiple languages and frameworks which eliminates the threat of vendor lock-in.

Adding to this it also has more than 30 members, meaning that there are plenty of options for developers to tap into when developing and deploying their applications.

Companies included in this are; Accenture, EMC, Capgemini, HPE, IBM, Intel and many more.

For deployment and lifecycle management, Cloud Foundry uses Bosh, an open source tool and its apps can be deployed on the likes of AWS, vSphere, or OpenStack.


8. AppFog

Based on Cloud Foundry, the AppFog PaaS has been quietly ticking along since it was acquired by CenturyLink in 2013.

The Portland based company is said to deploy more than 150,000 applications for more than 100,000 developers across multiple cloud environments.

Programming languages available for developers include Go, Java, Node.js, PHP, Python and Ruby.

Because it is based on Cloud Foundry, AppFog benefits from the same openness that it does by being able to tap into numerous other vendor resources and capabilities.

Another of the benefits of the PaaS offering is that each of its applications receives a unique URL which can be mapped to a custom domain. This enables the PaaS to host numerous public-facing web properties.



9. Engine Yard

Engine Yard’s PaaS offering is less focused on being open to the majority of programming languages, it instead specialises in Ruby on Rails, Node.js, or PHP apps.

The PaaS features tools for stack and security management, environment and instance automation, automated provisioning, platform independence and CLI tools.

Although it specialises in the aforementioned languages, its stack technology include Nginx, MySQL, Postgres, Redis, Memcached, EC2, S3 and Chef, so users aren’t limited in that regard.

The focus on Ruby on Rails, PHP and Node.js means that it is well suited for web application developers and it also provides a set of services on top of AWS to add extra scale.

Engine Yard’s PaaS runs in the Amazon cloud and lets customers deploy instances in eight Amazon regions using normal, high memory and high CPU instances.

One of the big appeals is how highly managed the Engine Yard PaaS is, which is boosted by Support-as-a-Service and Database Support-as-a-Service.


10. Google App Engine

Google is a huge cloud player but has struggled to turn its technological might into market wins. That being said, it is still one of the leading PaaS providers.

The company’s App Engine has over 200,000 developers building applications on it. App Engine has become an extremely popular PaaS that many developers use to build applications built in Python, Java, Go and PHP.

As with the Microsoft Azure and AWS offerings, one of the strengths of the PaaS is that it can tap into the size and scale of the Google cloud.

App Engine offers automatic scaling for web applications so as the number of requests increases for an application the engine is able to allocate more resources to handle the additional demand.

Another benefit is that the App Engine is free up to a certain level of consumed resources, after that level is reached fees are charged for additional storage, bandwidth, or instance hours. This means that it is a good choice for developers that just want to try out the service.


This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.