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How PaaS Are Changing SaaS Development

May 17, 2016 | saas

If your business is looking for a better solution for the development and maintenance of SaaS applications, there are now a number of platforms available to make this process faster and easier. With a SaaS application platform, also known as PaaS (Platform as a Service), you can develop and manage a SaaS application right in the cloud.

If your business is looking for a better solution for the development and maintenance of SaaS applications, there are now a number of platforms available to make this process faster and easier. With a SaaS application platform, also known as PaaS (Platform as a Service), you can develop and manage a SaaS application right in the cloud.

Many businesses have recognized the benefits of PaaS and many more are expected to in the near future. According to Statista, the revenue of vendors offering PaaS in the public cloud market is predicted to reach a combined value of $68.3 billion by 2026. Within the next 10 years, the share of PaaS providers in the cloud computing market is expected to triple.

Before you can understand what PaaS can do for your business, you need a basic understanding of how PaaS works. Let’s take a look at how PaaS is used to develop SaaS applications and some of the popular options that are currently available on the market.

What Is PaaS?

PaaS is used to develop SaaS (Software as a Service) applications. With a SaaS application platform you can build prototypes of a SaaS application or develop full-scale systems.

Using a SaaS application platform makes developing and maintaining SaaS applications faster and easier because it manages the infrastructure and resources required to build a cloud application.

Why Should I Use PaaS While Developing a SaaS App?

With built-in infrastructure, using PaaS provides an all-in-one solution for the efficient development of a SaaS application. In addition, the most popular SaaS application platforms are hosted in the cloud so that the development and maintenance of the SaaS application will not take up the storage and server resources of your business. The server management and platform performance optimization are handled by the platform provider, which maximizes uptime for your SaaS application.

Many organizations also opt to use PaaS to develop SaaS applications because of the cost savings that it can provide to the business in terms of a faster time to market, lower initial capital expenditure, access to better technology and the systematization of best practices for application management that help reduce long term maintenance costs.

Important SaaS Application Platform Features

PaaS is designed to manage the runtime, operating system, middleware, virtualization, servers, storages and networking for a SaaS application. As a result, there are many features that a reliable PaaS should incorporate. However, if you are trying to select the best PaaS provider for your needs, you should focus on the following features.

1. Multi-tenant Architecture

A multi-tenant platform uses shared computing resources with a single underlying database, enabling support for multiple customers. Multi-tenancy is an essential feature for any PaaS because it ensures that code updates are deployed simultaneously to all customers so that platform resources are used efficiently.

2. Customizable UI Components

Customizable or programmable UI components enable the creation of user interfaces with custom features without the need to write complex code. UI designs/developers should have access to a tag library of reusable UI components and should be able to create or configure UI components via a “drag & drop” methodology. Permission and validation rules must also be made available at the object/field levels.

3. Database Customizations

Database customization is a key feature of a powerful PaaS offering. The PaaS provider must support visual control, object construction, and the specification of relationships between objects via a declarative web interface. Permission and validation rules must also be made available at the object/field levels.

4. Flexible Access Control System

A flexible access control system helps to maintain security by ensuring that specific users and user groups have appropriate access to both sensitive and nonsensitive data. Application and field level definition of access must be enabled via the creation of groups and roles for users. This access control model also enables collaboration within the company that manages the platform.

5. Services-enabled Integration

The PaaS provider should support “services-enabled” integration by leveraging Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) principles to ensure seamless integration of SaaS application data and functionality. Integration via both SOAP and REST API calls that are restricted by permissions and access control security specifications should also be supported. In addition, integration between on-premise enterprise systems and cloud applications must be facilitated by the PaaS via a provided range of pre-built connectors.

6. Support for Process Automation

The ability to define workflow processes via robust workflow capabilities enables process automation which is the main objective of any SaaS application. The PaaS offering must allow human intervention or event trigger conditions to be defined using a script language.

7. Scalability

The most popular PaaS providers offer pay-as-you-go subscription models or automatic scalability to help you control your costs and the amount of resources that your SaaS application uses. Seeking out a highly scalable and flexible PaaS solution is the only way to build modern SaaS applications, especially enterprise-level applications.

Most Popular PaaS on the Market in 2016

Here is a brief look at the top five PaaS providers that are currently available on the market and the unique features that they offer.

G2 Crowd Grid for Platform as a Service (PaaS) Software

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure created by Microsoft for building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. More than 66 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure.

Some of the major features of this platform include:

● Integrated development experience with the Azure SDK and Visual Studio
● Support for JavaScript, Python, .NET, PHP, Java and Node.js applications
● Linux containers with Docker integration
● Predictive analytics services, including Machine Learning, Cortana Analytics and Stream Analytics
● Worldwide network of Microsoft-managed datacenters across 22 regions

Microsoft Azure is designed to handle almost any workload including small prototype SaaS applications and global, enterprise-scale launches. Microsoft was also the first major cloud provider to adopt the new international cloud privacy standard, ISO 2701.

Force.com

Force.com is a PaaS provider that allows developers to create multi-tenant add-on applications that integrate with the Salesforce.com application.

Some of the major features of this platform include:

● Applications built using Apex and Visualforce and hosted on Salesforce.com’s infrastructure
● Salesforce API access
● Distribution to Salesforce customers via AppExchange Marketplace

Force.com makes it easier for businesses to develop internal tools. Businesses are also offered the opportunity to join the Salesforce Partner Program and leverage Salesforce’s revshare model.

Google App Engine

Google App Engine is a cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers.

Some of the major features of this platform include:

● Automatic scaling of applications based on incoming traffic
● Support for standard and flexible environments
● Support for programming languages, including Python, Java, Go, PHP, Ruby and Node.js
● The ability to sustain multiple datacenter outages without any downtime

Google App Engine is also free up to a certain level of consumed resources, making it an ideal platform for testing prototype SaaS applications.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a PaaS offered by Amazon Web Services that allows developers to construct applications and push them to a definable set of AWS services, including EC2, S3, Simple Notification Service (SNS), CloudWatch, autoscaling, and Elastic Load Balancers. Developers can simply upload their application code and the AWS Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles resource provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, monitoring, and more.

Some of the major features of this platform include:

● Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing
● Built-in CloudWatch monitoring
● Deployment that requires an application, configuration template, version, and environment

With AWS Elastic Beanstalk, developers retain full control over the AWS resources powering the SaaS application. This service is ideal if you have a standard PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, Node.js, .NET, Go, or Docker application that can run on an app server with a database.

Jelastic

Jelastic is a PaaS that delivers Java and PHP hosting with a high availability of applications and scaling to end users. Users simply provide the cluster of servers and Jelastic supplies everything that is needed to deliver a SaaS application in the cloud.

Some of the major features of this platform include:

● Automatic vertical scaling and load balancing via containerization
● Zero code change deployment
● Support for Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js, and .NET applications
● Application lifecycle management

With Jelastic, you can simply select your software stack and in just a few minutes your environment will be up and running with one click application deployment using GIT, SVN, archive or plugins like Maven, Eclipse, IDEA and NetBeans.
We’re Here to Help

Achievion has built a number of SaaS applications based on AWS and Jelastic platforms. Whether you need help with migrating an existing web app to a SaaS platform or you would like to develop a brand new one from scratch, we have experience, expertise, and technology to build your next SaaS application.

Let us help manage your SaaS application needs so you can focus on what’s important.

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