Monday, April 19, 2010

Cloud Computing Platform Introduction - PaaS

A few weeks back I wrote a post on Cloud Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS. To summarize that post, IaaS is the base layer of Cloud Computing, the foundation of cloud based applications. The whole cloud infrastructure, including servers, routers, hardware based load-balancing, firewalls, storage and other network equipment, is provided by the IaaS provider. IaaS delivers computer and web infrastructure through virtualization. But all this infrastructure is of no use without a platform. This post continues the series. Here we’ll discuss the middle layer of Could Stack, i.e., PaaS (Platform as a Service).This middle layer of cloud is consumed mainly by developers or tech savvy individuals.


Traditional Software Development

Assume your company has got a web application development project. Using the traditional model, how will they proceed with the development if they want to develop it in say ASP.Net with a SQL Server database?

They will need to

  • Procure VS.Net developers license.
  • Procure SQL Server licenses.
  • Procure 3rd party tools (reporting etc) licenses.
  • Develop and then deploy on a production server on a fixed budget.

Though the above steps are costly and complicated yet they apply only to simple web apps (Because in real-time scenario there are a few more servers like test, staging and production)

Cloud based PaaS

Now you don’t need to invest millions of dollars to get that project environment ready for your developers. The PaaS provider will deliver the platform on the web, and in most cases you can consume the platform using your browser. There is no need to download any software. This combination of simplicity and cost efficiency empowers small and mid-size companies, or even individual developers, to launch their own Cloud SaaS. Without any initial investment, they can leverage the power of these platform providers.

PaaS  Layers

  • Cloud OS
  • Cloud Middleware

Google App Engine and Windows Azure are examples of Cloud Operating Systems (OS). OrangesScape and Wolf PaaS are cloud middleware.

PaaS-Layers-Cloud OS-Middleware

Examples: Best PaaS Providers

Microsoft Windows  Azure and Google App Engine are for hard-core developers. Existing .Net developers can easily move up to the Azure platform and create their own scalable Cloud SaaS. Java and Python developers can use Google Apps Engine to deliver cloud apps.

OrangeScape and Wolf PaaS are on-demand browser based platforms for rapidly designing and delivering multi-tenant Cloud SaaS apps. They can be used as a 5 GL platform which automates many standard software development tasks to simplify application development. The USP of these platforms is that they can be used by business analysts (non developers) as well. You don’t need to write one piece of code! With a little patience, anyone with good analytical ability and domain knowledge can get started with his or her first Cloud SaaS.

Let me know about your experience with any other PaaS provider you’ve used…

Related Cloud Computing Articles at Techno-Pulse


  1. I never tried cloud computing. Where can i try it?

  2. Great article for Beginner in Cloud computing Technique.I have a query its Cloud computing is a Technology/Technique???
    How we can make cloud computing is useful for Small and Medium Enterprise(SME). Its possible to make cloud computing as mobile user(Prepaid Plan) scheme?

  3. @Muthu: The term 'Cloud Computing' can't be called as a technology. It's appropriate to call it as a trend which leverages multiple technologies.

    Currently, Cloud is more useful for SMEs than big enterprises.

    Yes, it's 'Pay-as-you-go' just like a prepaid service.

  4. Hi,
    Saltmarch Media is organizing its third season of Business Technology Summit 2010 which is going to take place on 11 and 12 Nov'10 in Bangalore. The summit features topics like Soa, SaAs, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services and more. For details log on to btsummit dot com

  5. I am hearing about cloud computing but never used it how can i know about cloud computing.

  6. To the Author,

    In the page containing the diagram of PaaS
    don't you think it should be IaaS rather than PaaS, since IaaS is the base upon which cloud-OS and cloud-middleware is located to form PaaS.

  7. @Deepak - Thanks for your insight.

    In IaaS, the consumer does not control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components e.g., host firewalls. (Source: NIST definition)

    In PaaS though the consumer has "No Control" over the OS yet it is a part of the PaaS. IMO the 2 images here duly interpret the above fact.

    There may be a better representation though, than what is shown here. I'll try to work out a better image to avoid any confusion.