Developing Your Startup
Cloud tools and services offer many benefits for startups and small businesses, but for the developer needing extensive tech support and infrastructure, without the substantial financial outlay, the cloud can provide even more during developing, testing and prototyping. Removing the need for costly technology implementations and the distractions that come with running your own IT infrastructure, cloud computing allows startups to develop and scale ideas with the minimum amount of hassle or cost and then seamlessly deploy compelling creations. Platform as a service (PaaS) is of particularly use to such growing businesses.
Platform as a Service
PaaS, a set of cloud computing services that offers businesses software services through a cloud vendor’s set of tools, provides both the hardware infrastructure requirements to develop and test software as well as the platform to present creations eloquently. PaaS environments can offer database management systems, server-side scripting environments, and design and development tools including debuggers and interactive development environments. Leading vendors have made a range of PaaS environments available including IBM’s BlueMix and Google’s App Engine, and Amazon’s AWS is considered an evolved enough infrastructure as a service offering to compete with such PaaS offerings.
Aside from eliminating the need for capital outlay for server infrastructure, PaaS makes it possible to do without the traditional office setups in the early stages and further makes collaboration with team members easier. Users also have access to a plethora of new technologies, and understanding only APIs puts object-based storage, blockchain, analytics, Internet of Things provision, and other essential tools within reach.
Choosing the Right PaaS
The range of PaaS environments available is fairly extensive, as is the span of costs and the variety of tools each offer. Choosing which one best suits your startup’s needs, both cost- and service-wise takes a little bit of thought.
- What Are My Objectives?
Understanding cost-restrictions and application administrative needs are the first steps. Will existing applications need to be moved to the cloud? How easily can this be accomplished if necessary, and will middleware be required for cloud integration? There is also the choice of environment and whether you want it tied to a single environment, part of a particular cloud infrastructure, or not linked to any specific cloud at all. While the single environment scenario lets you immediately get started developing applications in that environment, for those wishing to run only in a particular operating environment it might be best to choose PaaS that’s part of a single cloud infrastructure.
- The Mix of Services and Technologies
The languages available differ from service to service so choosing one that suits your team is imperative. Another consideration is how many stacks and stack combinations are offered, as well as how the deployment system is architected. Graphical user interfaces should be compared for ease of use, as well as the data storage and server-side technologies available.
- The Provider Network
Consider also the provider network. Who are their developers, partners and software vendors and how well do you feel they fit your business culture? Having common environments can often make integration quicker and easier, and there are the obvious benefits of providers that are constantly striving to improve their services with new applications that ensure you always have the most up-to-date tools available.
- Lock it Up
Though cloud computing services often provide far greater security than small organizations can manage themselves, it’s an area that should never be overlooked. Make sure the provider you choose will protect your data and applications by investigating their reputation and uptime rates.
With the most suitable PaaS environment in place, startups can focus on their core objectives of development, testing, and deployment. Such agile setups make it possible to try, fail, and try again, giving the creative process room to flourish without losing too much time or wasting valuable resources.
By Jennifer Klostermann