Why are businesses and the IT industry all talking about platform-as-a-service and microservices?
Applications were once built on a monolithic structure. Huge teams would work using a single application prototype, which came together quickly, with little maintenance needed. Yet, as the application grows toward production, management gets more difficult to control. As there are multiple layers including the interface, business logic, data interface and data storage, applications need user input, processing, application of business logic, to enrich existing data, and need to be stored for later additional processing. The issues with this type of architecture include:
- Slow roll-out – difficult to debug and update, with vast amounts of time and effort needed to update or identify issues
- Poor scalability – applications used to be run on monolithic architectures, which were powerful and expensive.
- Inter-dependency – every change to an application can affect other parts, increasing the risk of making one change which will cause bugs in the user interface layer and affect the usability of the entire application.
PaaS vs. IaaS & SaaS
Let’s explore the concepts of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS Also known as “cloud application services,” SaaS uses the internet to deliver applications, managed by a third-party vendor. As applications run through a web browser, they don’t require downloads or installation from clients. Businesses use SaaS in several situations, including:
- Start-ups or small companies that need to launch ecommerce quickly and don’t have time for server issues or software
- Short-term projects requiring quick, easy, and affordable collaboration
- Applications needed occasionally, like tax software
- Applications that require web and mobile access
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a cloud computing architecture that includes servers, network, operating systems and storage, all delivered using virtualization. IaaS clients enjoy complete control of their entire infrastructure, without the need to maintain or manage it. IaaS clients managed some aspects of their own applications, runtime, middleware and data, but often rely on providers for the management of their servers, hard drives, networking, storage and virtualization. A few advantages of IaaS are:
- Start-ups or small companies who want to reduce the amount of time and money spent on new hardware and software
- Larger companies who want control over their applications and infrastructure
- Companies experiencing rapid growth and requiring scalability
What is Platform-as-a-Service?
PaaS can’t replace an entire IT infrastructure. It uses a cloud service provider to host the infrastructure, which users access through a web browser. PaaS services include:
- Development team collaboration
- Application design and development
- Application testing and deployment
- Web service integration
- Information security
- Database integration
Traditional applications offer static linking and business functions. Microservice applications are different in their ability to connect to microservice endpoints for a totally functional application. Setting up the right PaaS means automatic deployment, provisioning and a link to full-stack microservices. The goal is to rapidly quality test and release new versions. These teams use PaaS to simplify all manual management needs and reliability. Because microservices are full-stack silos consisting of things like web servers, databases, load balancers and integration servers.
What is microservices architecture?
A microservices is a tiny application that performs one specific function, remaining independent from other services. The application can use any framework or language, and works both on-premises and on public cloud. An easy example is that of a small application run on a compute cluster. If it runs on 5 cluster, and one fails, the other 4 clusters will maintain the integrity of the application and ensure it continues to operate normally. The benefits of a microservices-oriented architecture include:
- Fast rollouts
- Easier debugging process
- Easy and fast scalability
- Clear assignment of responsibilities
- Decreased dependency on services/components
Teams go with a microservices design approach that divides business solutions into sperate, full-stack services managed by independent teams. They can also approach the issue by joining many different microservices for a more holistic user experience More traditional delivery and infrastructure don’t work well in this situation. Luckily, platform-as-a-service steps in at this point to lessen fragility, reduce operational requirements and enhance productivity.
What is Kubernetes (K8s)?
A recent article by Hackernoon says, “Containerization involves bundling an application together with all of its related configuration files, libraries and dependencies required for it to run in an efficient and bug-free way across different computing environments.” The popularity of microservices has spawned the construction of a meshwork of services, which is “a configurable, low‑latency infrastructure layer designed to handle a high volume of network‑based inter process communication among application infrastructure services using application programming interfaces (APIs).”
Kubernetes were released inn 2014 to help deploy and managed microservices on the cloud. While most new businesses are using this as a go-to for their start-up, many established businesses are focused on catching up and updating to gain these capabilities
What scenario is best served using a PaaS cloud model?
As we’ve noted, PaaS is great for businesses interested in running microservices and using kubernetes. K8s are helping enable a more event-driven architecture for our data. Customers expect real-time updates and notifications, and the rapid availability made possible with microservices means information and applications are pushed faster, with the least amount of friction possible. The easy answer to this question, is “anyone who needs their business processes to be stronger, faster and more secure.