Once you grasp that digital transformation is like the arrow of time — there’s no going back, only forward — the idea that your organization is on its way to relying on a multi-cloud ecosystem and that the bulk of your enterprise applications will sooner or later be cloud-native is, well, obvious.
That’s step one.
It’s about the complexity
Step two is about appreciating the impacts of complexity — multi-cloud complexity and application development complexity in particular.
Consider, for example, security in your multi-cloud environment that relies on infrastructure your enterprise doesn’t own or control where your data streams. Is it adequately monitored, fully visible, and controllable across every cloud? Can you consistently monitor activity and apply security policies across all of your cloud services?
Similarly, migrating workloads from legacy environments or from another cloud into a multi-cloud ecosystem can corner you into using a complex toolset that’s difficult to manage and may generate governance and compliance issues.
Such complexities, along with plenty of others, are impacting both application architectures and software development. Going forward, you’ll need cloud-native software capable of delivering new levels of modularity, flexibility, security, and resilience.
Time to PaaS
Cloud-native software requires a new type of development platform that provides a consistent, predictable, and secure means for developers to deploy and run apps in production, at scale, via a unified self-service model that simplifies a highly complex set of IT functionalities and supports continuous delivery.
This is Platform as a Service (PaaS). Currently available from hundreds of vendors across some 21 service categories — and growing — PaaS solutions expedite burdensome, error-prone tasks, boosting app development speeds and quality.
PaaS providers manage the software development infrastructure: runtime, middleware, operating system, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking. PaaS development tools can be customized, and the software that developers create can be managed either by them or their PaaS provider.
Which PaaS is right for you?
As you contemplate which PaaS offering is best for you, remember that in this age of digital transformation, everything is a moving target — including software development platforms — and vendor lock-in is a real risk.
That’s why I suggest you seek out an open source PaaS where the emphasis is on application portability and auto-scaling (horizontally and vertically), centralized platform administration and logging (including integration with external logging components), infrastructure security, dynamic routing, application health management, role-based access for deployed applications, and support for multiple IaaS providers.
And if you’re even a little unsure about which path to PaaS is best for your enterprise, seek advice from a vendor-neutral technology advisor with strong PaaS experience.