PaaS - Why would you do it?
Amyn Jaffer
Head of Ultima Labs
23/03/2021

Here in the UK, with lockdown still in full swing, you start to miss the simpler things you took for granted previously, such as going out to a restaurant for a meal. It’s always nice to kick back and relax where you don’t have to put the effort into making something fancy, right? 

When you’re at home, you’ve got to go and get the ingredients, preheat the oven, maybe boil the water, prepare everything, keep timing and the serve everything up – as well as the washing up after. When you go to a restaurant, all of that is taken care for you, but the result is you still get a nice meal out of it. 

This analogy also rings true in the world of cloud when we look at differences between Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS); the result is still a service you’ve put together that is consumed, but the background to providing the service is very different. 

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What are IaaS and PaaS? 

To put it simply, IaaS is a cloud term to describe a more traditional approach to your cloud services. Like on-premises, this is made up of virtual machines, their disks and associated networking to tie them all together. This is how most organisations start their cloud journey as it’s the easiest way to transition from on-premises services into the cloud. 

PaaS however, is effectively a “transformation” stage after your IaaS services have been established which enables you to run your services without the need for traditional virtual machines or networking – also known as serverless. The most common PaaS resources are web applications, storage accounts for data as well as SQL databases. 

Why PaaS over IaaS? 

Let’s go back to the cooking analogy. Whether you’re cooking at home or going to a restaurant, the end result is the same, a meal to be consumed. But it's your involvement in the process that makes the difference. 

If you were to cook at home, you’d need to look after and maintain an oven, electricity, a kettle, instruments and get all the ingredients to make the meal.  In contrast, when eating in a restaurant you don’t need to bother with any of those things, it’s all taken care of for you, saving you time and effort. 

This is the key different between IaaS and PaaS – once you transform to PaaS for your applications, certain responsibilities and needs fall away from you, making your life easier, and more often than not, saving you on your cloud spend. 

Ok, can you break that down? 

Using IaaS, the responsibility for building and maintaining your virtual machines falls with you – so that’s going to be things like patching, the operating system, the runtime for your applications etc. However, with PaaS services for your web applications for example, there are no virtual machines, meaning your responsibility is reduced – no more worrying about patching, the OS, or criticality, high availability; it’s all taken care of for you by the cloud provider and often with a better SLA (service level agreement) that can be accomplished on your own.  

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Whereas with IaaS, scaling your environment means powering down your virtual machines to make necessary changes, with PaaS you’re able to scale your resources based on demand without any downtime.  This gives you much more flexibility in providing performance boosts only when it’s needed.  Because the cloud is based on a consumption model, this can improve user experience and save you money, and is one of the main reasons organisations transform their IaaS resource to PaaS. 

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Sounds great! But how do I start? 

The easiest area to get started is public facing websites that run on virtual machines.  Moving these to PaaS-based web apps is by far the most common way we’ve seen for organisations to get going on their transformation journey.  Once you’ve started, the rest will follow. 

Conclusion 

So as we’ve already described, there’s nothing wrong with starting with traditional virtual machines in the cloud – in fact this is where most start. But transitioning to PaaS resources offers significant benefits on your time, effort, uptime and potential cloud spend through customised scaling-on-demand. 

Now if you’ll excuse us – for some reason this has made us all rather hungry. 

IA-Cloud

IA-Cloud is an automated management, monitoring and optimisation platform for your Microsoft Azure workloads. Unlike your average cloud management platform, IA-Cloud is unique in that it supports PaaS services as well as IaaS .  From cloud native monitoring through to expert optimisation recommendations, IA-Cloud is built on solid foundations of many years of cloud consulting experience. 

IA-Cloud customers have already seen overall cost savings as much as 30% on their monthly Azure bill by tracking their PaaS usage and making performance changes on demand, as well as whole host of other IaaS optimisation recommendations. 

Why not find out more at https://www.ultima.com/ia-cloud 

 

 

 

 

 


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