Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud computing architecture offered by vendors to businesses requiring hardware and software tools. The computing solution is targeted toward application developers, helping them access these tools via a web browser on the internet.
According to Gartner, the PaaS market had over 360 vendors, offering more than 550 cloud platforms in over 21 categories in 2019. The market is expected to double from 2018 to 2022, and PaaS will be the most dominant platform used as a delivery model. By 2022, Gartner expects 90% of the organizations to start using both PaaS and IaaS computing platforms, even the ones who are solely dependent on public cloud IaaS now.
PaaS gives the benefit of flexibility and ease in terms of usage. Every PaaS vendor delivers infrastructural solutions to run any application, which can be accessed across the entire network using connectivity solutions. PaaS providers charge the users on the per-user basis model—a model that many enterprises currently prefer as it eliminates the need for traditional on-premise hardware and software.
A steady adoption of the PaaS platform will make enterprises use a solution that has its hardware and software solution on the third-party data center. Ergo they might face configuration and control gaps, which becomes too huge a problem to handle.
Single infrastructure, multiple users:
Multiple end-users use the same software and hardware in the PaaS solution; this might be fine for many applications that demand basic processing and data. But for sensitive and process-intensive applications, this is entirely unacceptable. Many applications have compliance formalities that need adherence, but with multiple-tenancy, it could be a challenge. Businesses need to be more diligent in terms of PaaS selection and configuration when dealing with sensitive applications.
PaaS is a cost-effective solution, as the enterprises these days are increasingly investing in a shared resource rather than buying the whole technology. Large scale applications can become very expensive to run in the PaaS environment owing to the resources that can be scaled without any due diligence and prior approvals.
The PaaS cost is directly relatable to scale, and with each added resource, the cost is bound to increase. Monitoring and implementing frameworks assist businesses with better cost management for PaaS.
Each PaaS provider has a unique configuration requirement. And if a business wants to move from one provider to another, it becomes a challenge. Vendor lock-in is unavoidable for businesses. Because if the application developers choose a specific PaaS vendor, they are confined to that requirement based on the software languages and hardware support provided.
Even though PaaS vendors offer multiple options, the ever-increasing modern technological applications mean that they all need constant upgrades.
Lack of control has been a big challenge when it comes to cloud computing. But with the PaaS environment, it can become even more pronounced because each vendor offers a different set of toolkits. And the above-mentioned vendor lock-in is quite prominent at the same time.
Say, for example, an application developer initially decides to host an application in traditional cloud-based solutions. The developer later moves the application to the PaaS vendor environment. Consequently, in the moving process, the service availability across the providers changes, bringing vendor-specific toolsets, which are even bigger potential risks. A PaaS vendor’s internal toolsets heavily impact the applications. Suppose a vendor has lost the license to use certain language support facility in its environment, it could hugely impact the application developers. PaaS not appropriately managed could make it more difficult and disruptive for the enterprise.
Another compelling problem faced by businesses is of security. PaaS has been a major disruptor in the technology world. With PaaS, the companies now have the inert ability to amplify their applications to any level without waiting for the hardware and software setup. But as the businesses began to adopt PaaS as a root environment, the attackers tried alternative methods to penetrate the application setup and data. And what better way than attacking the brain first. A hypervisor in the system is the brain when it comes to PaaS and IaaS platform.
A hypervisor or Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) is a computer software, hardware, or firmware that creates, runs, and manages virtual machines. Therefore, a hypervisor acts as an admin for the complete environment. Once a hypervisor is cracked, a hacker gets easy access to all the data and applications. It even makes it tough for businesses to detect problems. It is close to impossible to detect a cracked hypervisor due to lack of monitoring. The hackers can disable logging and other monitoring services or even feed wrong information to the monitoring systems.
Multiple tenants using the same infrastructure and configuration lead to security issues. Misconfigurations can be a challenge because most enterprises lack resources when it comes to delivering the required configuration channels. There can be data loss through misuse of privileged customer or multi-tenant hacking.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a solution for those businesses that demand scalability without binding enterprises to invest in software, hardware, and even resources. It brings the market closer to applications. Hence, it’s a competent solution for enterprises. While the aforesaid security challenges cannot be ignored, there is a need to solve them with an effective security strategy that protects not only the data but also the applications.
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