Posts Tagged ‘cloud hosting’

What is PaaS – Platform as a Service

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the middle layer of the cloud computing stack, sandwiched between Software as a Service (SaaS) at the top and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) on the bottom. Put simply, the three services determine whether you consume (SaaS), build (PaaS) or host software (IaaS).

What is PaaS Used for?

PaaS is used for application development, testing and deployment over the internet, whilst the majority of hosting infrastructure is managed for you. While the layers of the cloud computing stack have blurred due to providers trying to differentiate their offering, PaaS usually contains the following features for you to develop upon:

Plus, the following features included in IaaS:

Examples of well known PaaS providers include Heroku, Google App Engine, and Red Hat’s OpenShift.

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What are the Pros and Cons?

Firstly, PaaS gives you full control of the software. This, among other benefits, such as the added control over application development, enables you to develop and provide SaaS to businesses wanting a finished solution. On the opposite side of the stack, by providing a developing enivronment unlike IaaS, PaaS makes application development possible for infrastructure ‘non-experts’. For example, PaaS can automate your testing and development services for you, whilst frequently updating your operating system.

As a collaborative platform, PaaS also makes sense if you are working with a number of external parties in different locations. As long as they all have internet access, several users in different locations can work together to build the same application.

On the negative side, PaaS isn’t suitable for applications that need to be highly portable in terms of where they are hosted. As PaaS uses proprietary data, certain providers raise concerns over vendor lock-ins – when a proprietary language hinders moving to another provider.

Whilst PaaS enables you to develop customised applications, it doesn’t allow you to customise the underlying hardware and software. This therefore prevents you from fully optimising your application’s performance.

Finally, although scalability is generally regarded as a positive of cloud computing, PaaS is limited if your business is constantly scaling up (or down), as some providers don’t make it easy to increase power or space quickly.

Public, Private or Hybrid PaaS – which is best?

The PaaS public cloud emulates what the cloud is all about – rapid deployment and use of infrastructure on demand. However, as expected, the public cloud isn’t ideal if your working on something that needs to remain private. If this is the case, PaaS on a private cloud might be a better fit.

Private cloud is a viable option, as it delivers better security and can make managing costs easier. Private cloud PaaS also gives you central control over deployment operations and allows you to develop cloud applications that couldn’t exist on the public cloud, either for technical or legal reasons. But what about if you want the scalability of public systems, with the security of a private cloud? Luckily there is a third option.

The hybrid solution is relatively new to PaaS and was introduced to offer the best of both worlds. Hybrid PaaS allows you to develop your own support infrastructure, whilst harnessing the rapid scalability of the public cloud during peak times. In other words, both the public and private cloud is at your disposal, allowing you to allocate one to use based on a project’s needs and security criteria. In reality, all three have their benefits, but which one you choose depends on what you prioritise.

IaaS vs. PaaS – What’s the difference?

As stated in our blog post analysing the similarities between IaaS and Bare Metal Cloud, it really depends on how you define IaaS and how literal you are with the word “infrastructure”. Looking exclusively at the cloud computing stack alone, having the bottom layer labelled as “infrastructure” makes sense, as, unlike SaaS and PaaS, you gain access to servers and choose which OSs to run. However, now that bare metal cloud is a reality, then IaaS and PaaS become rather similar.

Depending on your viewpoint, bare metal cloud can be seen as the true “infrastructure” of cloud computing, as it gives complete control over the system’s architecture. Once open to the opportunities that come with a bare metal cloud, virtual versions of IaaS merge with PaaS. For example, neither gives you single-tenant control like bare metal cloud. Instead, IaaS and PaaS both run on VMs created on the top of hypervisors. The similarities continue as both PaaS and IaaS providers still manage virtualisation, servers, hard drives, storage, and networking. The key differences between the two is that PaaS provides development tools, runtime environments, and ready-made databases for you to run applications on, as well as data security, backup and recovery.

What really matters is that you get the right server hosting to fit your needs. As the middle layer, PaaS is often a compromise. If you want to develop, test and deploy customised applications, then choosing PaaS is recommended. However, if you want to more control to manage applications on your own OSs, then an IaaS solution (virtual or bare metal) will be more suitable.

If developing a SaaS product on PaaS, IaaS or bare metal, check out our SaaS guide to know what it takes to make a profit.

The Future of Cloud Hosting Post-Brexit

Posted by Adrien Tibi

It’s little over a month on from the Brexit ballot where voters opted to discontinue Britain’s membership of the European Union, but the full scale of the fallout is still yet to be felt throughout the technology sector.

Although it was predicted that the short-term effects would be negligible, it is also true that we have no more information about the long term consequences either- the fact that 87% of the London technology industry voted to remain hints, at the very least, of an adverse future ahead. Below we’ll examine some significant information to bolster this claim so that your business is able to navigate the hosting services post-Brexit landscape.

EU Data Protection

Firstly, the ‘out’ vote has made no impact on the UK’s involvement with the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is set to come into full effect in a mere two years. The UK will be required to match GDPR standards in order to join the European Free Trade Association and achieve an ‘adequacy’ decision- which is required to ensure data can move freely from EU countries and therefore keep UK based companies trading in the digital world. Nicola Fulford, Head of Data Protection at Kemp Little concluded that: “It is unlikely that, either in the short, medium or long term, Brexit will result in a material departure of UK law and practice from EU law in relation to the use and protection of personal data.”

The Growth Impact

Secondly, the impact to growth for UK technology businesses will be substantial – the UK simply does not have enough qualified and skilled engineers or tech professionals to drive growth on its own. At present this sector is subsidised by the free movement of professionals within the EU- a facet of EU legislation that is set to be wiped out as a result of the Brexit vote. With the resolution of Article 50 there will be no real reason why a skilled European worker may not choose to pursue a role within the USA or Hong Kong instead of Britain after considering that the migration controls are similarly strict.

Stuck for ideas on how to make a profit in SaaS? If so, download our SaaS profitiability guide for hints and tips.


The high level of equivocation surrounding Brexit has been a standout feature of the debate, with some even suggesting that the only certainty about Britain leaving the EU is that the cloud computing ecosystem is going to see some turbulence and uncertainty ahead. This has encouraged a number of speculative scenarios which see UK data centre plans being put on hold as foreign business deteriorates.

As yet though these remain just a forecast, and in spite of the warnings of uncertainty there has been a lack of significant change from the time of the vote to the present day. Of course there remains a highly likely scenario where the post-Brexit future of UK cloud hosting comes under considerable strain but there are choices available in the meantime.

Where to Host

As explained above, UK based businesses will need to adhere to the stricter GDPR standards in the upcoming years if they require data to move throughout the EU. However, these restrictions do not apply if your business chooses to cloud host with a UK based hosting provider. Therefore, if you are new to the world of cloud solutions, or are currently investigating server providers for to your business, it makes sense to prioritise those cloud services such as dedicated servers or bare metal cloud that use only UK based data centres. Moreover, if you have any current services that are due to be renewed then now might be the time to think about switching to UK based server providers.

Ensuring that your businesses data is stored in a secure and accessible environment is essential, especially during the current uncertain climate that has resulted from the Brexit vote.

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