Whether you’re looking to start a new business or expand an existing one, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions can be an attractive way to manage and develop not just your IT infrastructure but also the software to run it.
PaaS is a world of services in which you do not need to buy expensive IT hardware, but instead pay for virtual server resources according to your needs. More than that, the software to manage it all is provided as part of the package.
This can make it especially economic because PaaS is scaleable, so you don’t have big upfront costs to start with. It can also be much more efficient when the same PaaS provider also includes the software required to manage your virtual resources. This means no worries about whether software or hardware upgrades might cause problems with your IT equipment.
Setting up your own virtual platform can come with challenges, however. You will need a degree of expertise to set up. Yet the benefits still outweigh the costs, especially in the short to mid-term, and most vendors will allow a trial period to ensure that their solution works for you.
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1. Oracle Cloud
An excellent PaaS from one of the best-known vendors
Some support issues
Oracle Cloud Platform (OCP) is part of Oracle Cloud, which is belongs to the Oracle Corporation, founded in 1977.
Oracle Cloud Platform works as a combination of open source technology and Oracle technology. This enable users to more efficiently build, deploy, integrate and manage all of your platform applications.
The solution uses a mixture of machine learning and AI to provide a service that offers self-repairing abilities. It also reduces business start-up costs and offers predictive insights.
Oracle boasts of having the largest PaaS portfolio of the cloud vendors around. Oracle believes their platform lowers costs and reduces complexity.
All of your data and applications can be integrated. The solution enables the user to migrate all processes to the cloud. Everything is managed via a single platform. All data is encrypted by default.
Oracle Cloud Platform claims their solution does everything for you. This saves time on repetitive tasks such as system maintenance, deploying solutions and necessary updates.
The platform comes with a 30-day free trial which includes $300 credit and up to 3,500 hours. There is a ‘Pay as you Go’ tier or a ‘Monthly Flex’ plan. With the ‘Flex’ plan users commit to a monthly amount in cloud services with a contract ranging from 1-7 years. In order to sign up for either of the above, users will need to contact Oracle directly.
Users have reported some issues with customer support.
2. Amazon Web Services
Reasonable priced, bespoke PaaS from an industry titan
Single occupancy servers
Some loading issues
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud-based program for building business solutions using integrated web services. Amazon Web Services offer much more than just PaaS services. They give users access to a wide range cloud services such as content delivery and database storage.
As part of your subscription to AWS users have access to ‘AWS Elastic Beanstalk’. This gives developers an easy way to deploy services.
Once you have uploaded all your applications, everything else from load balancing to auto-scaling is handled by Elastic Beanstalk. The service scales your application based on the resources needed.
AWS has three different pricing models; ‘Pay as you Go’, ‘Save when you reserve’ and ‘Pay less using more’. To get prices for all these you need to contact Sales directly.
3. Google Cloud Services Platform
Flexible and affordable cloud platform from the gurus of Google
12-month free trial
Setup can be tricky
The Google Cloud Services Platform is Google’s platform as a services (PaaS) offering. With this highly intuitive engine, Google’s Cloud Services Platform handles the management of resources for you.
With Google Cloud Platform you can use Google’s web services to build a highly customized solution to meet all your company’s needs.
With the Google Cloud Services Platform you can use built-in managed services for activities such as email and user management. The service can run and manage monitoring, scaling and hosting.
As Google Cloud Services Platform relies heavily on Linux, it helps to be familiar with the Linux command line. This will make the process of setting up firewalls, gateways and routers much smoother.
A free trial is available for 12 months, and a $300 credit to access additional services if required.
4. Microsoft Azure
A stunning range of services, with some free features
Not PaaS specific
Microsoft Azure not only offers platform as a service but also software as a service and infrastructure as a service. With Azure, clients can use the services purely on the cloud or it can be combined with any existing applications, data centre or infrastructure you may already have in place.
Azure’s PaaS was one of the solutions early offering which later included IaaS. Many cloud providers are blurring the lines between PaaS and IaaS. Microsoft Azure is no stranger to this idea of mixing and matching both services.
Microsoft Azure can be used to deploy a wide variety of provisioned and managed infrastructures using its PaaS solution. It can fit any of your business needs such as storage, networking, and web hosting. The utility fully manages all of your platform needs.
The platform gives you the freedom to move away from having your servers based on premises which can reduce costs. This removes the need for an on-site support team as this is all now looked after by Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Azure is available as a 12 month free trial, $200 credit and over 25 ‘Always Free’ services.
5. Salesforce Platform
A widely praised PaaS offering with multiple free tiers
Free trial for all tiers
Supports multiple programming languages
Steep learning curve
The Salesforce Sales Cloud is a platform as a service solution that allows users to build and deploy cloud solutions. The platform provides the tools necessary to automate the process which in turn gives the user more time to focus on other areas.
Developers are able to build trusting cloud applications that are secure and scalable without worrying about hardware provisioning or application stacks. The platform uses Heroku which is used to deploy, run and manage applications written in programming languages such as Java and Ruby amongst others. Code can be used using a single command using developer tools such as GitHub.
Salesforce’s Lightning Design System provides developers with guides and the code necessary to build applications. With the handy drag-and-drop feature, users can build applications using the Lightning App Builder.
Users can get started for free by filling out a basic setup form. In order to gain access to more services, you will need to choose one of the four plans available. The lowest price tier is the ‘Employee Apps Starter’ and begins at $30. All tiers can be tried for free.
While Salesforce has been widely praised as a brilliant platform by users, they have also warned of the huge learning curve that goes along with it.