AWS and PaaS

Mon 17 February 2014 Written by Evi

What is PaaS?

PaaS is simply Platform as a Service. It’s a cloud computing term that represents the ability to hire a scalable configured platform for the time that you need it and no longer. It eliminates the need for expensive hardware and software resources within the development environment so that developers can concentrate on their core skills. PaaS is designed to facilitate easier application deployment environments.

The environment delivered by a PaaS provider can be switched off when it’s not in use. If you suddenly need a lot more power it can be scaled up instantly and on-the-fly to provide extra space or processing power. In short - it’s a highly flexible way to manage your computing requirements.

So why would a software developer need a PaaS environment?

PaaS is nothing short of a dream come true for software engineers! One of the biggest challenges facing software companies is the availability of server space for integration, load and production testing. That means that when a software engineer wants to test his code at a functional level he’ll do it on his own machine. He will also use his own IDE software to do this (e.g. Eclipse, Intelij, etc.)

That’s OK, but as soon as he wants to test his code in an environment that feels like the real server farm, he’ll run into trouble. That’s because the company “lab” environment is quite often testing something else at that point. He’ll need to wait on the QC team to provide him with a convenient time slot and that could be months down the line. Once his code hits testing – he’ll have to spend time refreshing his memory to understand what he did at the time and why. That’s a waste of a developer’s time. He could be working on other tasks rather than reviewing his own work if he could test as soon as he’s ready to.

So how does PaaS help with that?

A PaaS environment lets the developer integrate his code then and there on a cloud based server farm via his IDE. He can upload the code on to the farm, run his tests and then turn off the farm (to keep costs to a minimum) as soon as he’s done. Cloud services are pretty much bottle-neck free. They are always available and you can scale up or down whenever you want. It’s a very cost-effective solution for any software company.

How does AWS provide a PaaS Service?

Amazon, trading under the AWS brand, is one of the major cloud service providers. AWS’s PaaS service is known as the Elastic Beanstalk. You upload your application and Elastic Beanstalk handles all the fiddly details (capacity provisioning, the load balancing, scaling, and health monitoring).

PaaS is simply the perfect vehicle for increasing the productivity of your software engineers. AWS’s Elastic Bean Stalk is one of the leading solutions in the PaaS space.