Choice can be liberating, but it can also feel like a big weight resting on your shoulders. Take for example going to a car dealership. Having dozens or even hundreds of cars to choose from can increase your chances of finding the right one for you, but it also raises the possibility of making a bad decision. While not as common as picking out a car or choosing a new smartphone, the choice of cloud service provider is still an important one businesses need to make, particularly when it comes to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) vendors.
The PaaS market is growing every single year, with revenues looking to hit nearly $3 billion by 2016. Gartner reports that there are now more than 150 different PaaS providers to choose from, each with different capabilities and offers. Picking a PaaS provider is an important choice, one that can impact your business for many years to come. While certain requirements (price, reliability, etc.) will surely weigh heavily on that decision, other factors that are just as crucial may fly under the radar. These factors should not be overlooked as they may prove to be the one thing indicating the perfect fit for your company.
What would you like to achieve with the cloud? If you've moved past basic inquiries like “What is cloud computing?” and on to the bigger picture, your overall cloud goals become a huge factor in determining which PaaS to adopt. Perhaps you want your PaaS choice to help you achieve faster results. Or maybe the goal is to lower your costs while at the same time needing fewer skills on hand. If you look at all the options, you’re bound to find a PaaS offer that works well with your organization. Some companies may be exploring more in-depth cloud computing benefits, like building high-performance apps or preserving existing skills and codes your business uses. Again, finding a PaaS that does that shouldn’t be a problem.
Most PaaS providers can be split into three categories: those that provide a platform that is programming language-specific, those that provide one that is language-agnostic, and hybrid platforms. The programming language factor can play a major role in choosing a PaaS vendor. Language-specific PaaS may not be as dominant of a force, but it’s still the preferred option for businesses that mainly use one type of programming language like Python or Java. By choosing a language-specific PaaS, they can receive specialized support. Language-agnostic PaaS, as you can probably determine, is best for businesses that value flexibility since they can be used with multiple programming languages. Hybrid PaaS is for businesses that need to access data from on-site sources while also using cloud applications found in the PaaS environment.
When it comes to choosing a PaaS provider, a recent survey shows that the number one factor businesses consider is the quality of the provider’s ecosystem. A PaaS provider’s ecosystem can include the partners, independent software vendors, and developers they work with on a regular basis. The more robust and diverse a provider’s ecosystem is, the more likely a business will choose it. By picking an ecosystem that a company may already be familiar with, that makes the full platform easier to integrate with due to having a common environment. Easier integration can also lead to easier management. A superior ecosystem also features new applications that are constantly being developed and updated. That means your business would be getting the most innovative apps designed around company needs that already work well with your chosen platform. This can also lead to more developer productivity, which in turn results in more application options to choose from. All in all, a healthy, vibrant PaaS ecosystem can benefit your business by providing a more consistent user experience with more options than your competitors.
These three factors are by no means the only variables you should consider when choosing a PaaS vendor. Price, security, and compatibility are all important factors too, but the three outlined above are too often forgotten while still being crucial to the continued success of your business. PaaS opens up exciting new avenues in which your company can expand its operations and improve the customer experience, but it all starts with making the right choice. With these factors in mind, you’ll be more likely to make the best decision for moving your company into the future.