The three main components of cloud computing - Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service - have each become more intrinsically linked to corporate IT in the past few years, with organizations taking more comprehensive approaches to deployments each day. As each of these cloud services represents a stack, the ideal arrangement for interoperability, efficiency and configuration purposes is beginning to be characterized by total implementation of the technology and modernization of IT frameworks in the process.
SaaS continues to be the most common form of cloud computing, and most experts agree that it will remain the majority shareholder for the foreseeable future, but IaaS and PaaS are growing more rapidly than ever before amid increased interest and demand for the technologies. IaaS is one of the more affordable approaches a small or medium-sized business can take to server, system and network management, and can open the gates for more fluid deployments in the future. This is one of the main reasons why IaaS is spreading so rapidly.
However, PaaS has been found to be the hottest segment of the cloud market today, growing more rapidly than SaaS and IaaS and continuing to accelerate on the global scale. Small business owners might wonder why this specific cloud service is so popular, and they need not look further than their pockets or the hands of employees who are using mobile devices for work purposes, as PaaS enables more fluid, efficient and intuitive management of applications than before possible.
First, the importance of apps
Some experts have argued that without applications, the average smartphone would be almost exactly the same as the first cellular telephones that were released decades ago in terms of features. Of course, smartphones are slimmer and more sleek than their ancestors, but with respect to raw power and capabilities, a mobile device without applications is simply not that useful, which is why so many manufacturers have integrated cloud computing components into their new products.
For one, cloud services have enabled phones to become simultaneously smaller yet more rich with features and storage capacity, as all of these tools are essentially hosted externally rather than in the device itself. Now, moving on to the applications that drive the power of the average tablet or smartphone, the possibilities are relatively boundless, with companies creating and deploying a broader array of software every day to improve the productivity and efficiency of employees.
Applications are used for storage, file transfers, email, customer relationship management, mobile Voice over Internet Protocol, collaboration and myriad other purposes, and are the real driving force behind the advantages of BYOD and COPE arrangements in the average workplace. Organizations that have taken a more comprehensive and proactive approach to application management are generally performing better than others, as they have captured the definitive power of mobility through these pieces of software.
In the past, small and medium-sized businesses would rarely be able to afford the equipment, expertise and technology to properly create and deliver customized applications. However, much like other segments of the cloud market, PaaS has disrupted this fact and made it more reasonable than ever for all businesses to hop aboard the application development and management train.
When a developer or manager would want to create, manipulate, customize or deliver an application to employees, the business would have had to implement relatively expensive equipment to act as a platform that would be used for these processes. Instead of taking this relatively inefficient approach, businesses can now use PaaS as a hosted platform service that enables all of the various strategies and initiatives that come along with application lifecycle management and development.
Furthermore, PaaS solutions are becoming far more intuitive, as competitors in the vendor field work to create the most useable and affordable options for a wide range of corporate users, meaning a new company that does not have a large IT staff will be able to partake in development exercises as well.
In terms of pure development, individuals would traditionally need to know how to write code, configure software and partake in various other programming activities. Now, many PaaS offerings enable the creation and customization of applications among individuals who have little to no background in software design and development. Again, cloud computing has been deemed as a force that levels the playing field among larger and smaller businesses, and this is a fundamental reason why.
Businesses that incorporate SaaS and IaaS into their IT frameworks should seriously consider adding the PaaS part of the stack, as applications will only continue to become more important in a broader range of industries - and corporate departments - as time goes on. With the ability to properly and efficiently manage apps, workforce enablement programs will be more robust than before possible.