Does PaaS Get Rid Of Ops?
In the past, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) was the real king of the hill. Clouds were created with cost reduction and rapid deployment in mind. For instance, companies that needed servers no longer needed to worry about red tape or even system administration. All it took was signing up for a new account, and within a few clicks a hardware profile with the OS image needed would be available and ready to use. This kind of setup was perfect, provided that your needs were generic and could match the OS images that the cloud provider gave. However, for companies with custom needs, the only way was to create and maintain their own image, which meant they couldn’t forego the need for a sys admin.
But there is now a change in methodology when it comes to sys admins. System administrators no longer need to install the servers themselves. They only need to contribute their knowledge and expertise regarding the use of images on the cloud. As a result, they are effectively becoming systems consultants instead of administrators. It allows them time to concentrate on jobs that are strategic and conceptual in nature. They are not just problem solvers, but planners and strategists. The only thing that needs to be done nowadays is to create virtual machines in the amount and hardware size needed for application requirements.
Platform-as-a-Service, on the other hand, works under the no-ops concept. This means they are specifically designed with features that aim to make a developer’s life easier. This is because of the lack of need to manage cloud deployments at the lower level of IaaS. PaaS is basically similar to Java application servers. Developers only need to write applications and deploy them on the platform, with everything else being taken care of without their intervention.
The main selling point of PaaS is that there’s no need for developers to worry about the OS, the platform, the load balancer or other things that would only detract from what they are really suited for – writing code.
Why do People Still Prefer IaaS Over PaaS?
PaaS is certainly a more productive approach for developers and some applications, but reality shows that the majority of cloud users still prefer IaaS, continuing to deploy and manage their applications on infrastructure clouds. The reason why these developers choose IaaS is that they want flexibility and control over simplicity and automation. There’s also the fact that PaaS currently doesn’t provide a solution to a number of current IT challenges, and some people actually consider the PaaS tendency to “baby” developers as a step backwards that hinders progression and knowledge growth.
Additionally, there are a number of platforms with extremely complex topologies that require something more flexible than PaaS, such as Hadoop or a shared MongoDB setup.
At the end of the day, PaaS is certainly a no-ops solution, but the real question that developers need to answer is whether they want PaaS’s no-ops yet stiff methodology, or IaaS’s relatively higher maintenance but more flexible solution.
By Kaamil Nakhasi