Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Government Cloud

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Thar Be Danger in That PaaS

Is PaaS actually a viable model for businesses to rely on?

There's a lot of momentum behind moving to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for delivery of applications on the cloud, but is there enough maturity in PaaS to deploy a mission-critical application? Here's a story regarding one loyalty program provider that offers his customers SaaS solutions. This SaaS provider deployed his platform on a PaaS that offered SQL Server and ASP.NET services. The SaaS has been operating perfectly for months handling the needs of his clientele, but unexplainably stopped working midday on a Saturday—a busy retail time period.

While the PaaS provider supposedly offered 24x7 support, they responded only to the first support ticket with a single response, “we really can't identify problems within your application.” The developers did what they could to discern the problem, but all their research pointed to something changing on the server. Upon hearing this, I had a bevy of thoughts regarding the maturity of PaaS:

  1. With IaaS, the customer takes responsibility for maintenance and updates to the server OS, so, hopefully, they test changes before rolling out into production. SaaS providers also could implement changes that could impact their customers, but, again, I would expect that these would be tested before rolling out into production with the ability to rollback should some unforeseen problem arise. However, PaaS providers can make changes to the platform that are all but impossible to test against every customer's application, meaning that changes the PaaS provider rolls out could shut your application down. Moreover, they may not even be aware of all the nuances of a vendor-supplied patch making it very difficult to recover and correct.
  2. Out of IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS, the PaaS provider has the greatest likelihood of pointing their finger back at you before pointing at themselves. After all, other customer's applications are up and running, so it must be your application. Hence, a PaaS provider needs to provide much more expensive help desk support than the other two service models in order to be able to ascertain the severity of a problem and get it corrected. Additionally, PaaS providers need to provide more 1-on-1 phone support as these issues are too complex to handle by email and trouble tickets alone.
  3. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS each offer less visibility into the internals of the service respectively. However, lack of control over the PaaS means that key settings that may affect the performance of your application may be outside the ability for you to affect. Case in point, the specific problem this loyalty SaaS provider had was that the PaaS was reporting a general error and telling him to make certain changes to his application configuration environment. However, the recommended changes were already implemented and it was seemingly ignored by the platform. At this point, the lack of visibility meant that the PaaS service provider was the only one capable of debugging the problem, even it was the fault of the application, which in this case it was not.
  4. Which brings us to the next point, the problem according to the PaaS provider was that an update forced the application to run under an incorrect version of .NET. Even though the developers forced the appropriate version through their control panel once problems started occurring, it seems that the control panel changes didn't actually have any affect. Hence, the customer must have a lot of faith that the tools the PaaS provider offers actually do what they state they are doing and if they don't then the visibility issue in point #3 will once again limit any ability to return to full operating status.

All this leads me to question if PaaS is actually a viable model for businesses to rely on. IaaS gives them complete control, but they will need to learn how to architect for scale. SaaS removes all concern for having to manage the underlying architecture and the SaaS provider will live or die based on their ability to manage the user experience. PaaS, is fraught with pitfalls and dangers that could cause your application to stop running at any point. Moreover, should this occur, the ability to identify and correct the problem may be so far out of your hands that only by spending an inordinate amount of time with your PaaS provider's support personnel could the problem be corrected.

I welcome input from PaaS providers to explain how they overcome these issues and guarantee service levels to their customers, when they cannot guarantee that customer's applications are properly written, that the libraries they use will run as expected in a multi-tenant environment or that a change they make to the platform won't stop already applications from running. Additionally, I'd be interested in hearing answers that equate to PaaS solutions that are more than pre-defined IaaS images, such as CloudFoundry or Azure.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...