Many companies have adopted software-as-a-service solutions to lessen the the burden of IT management and this model works well for uses that do not require as much in-house control over enterprise applications. However, organizations are increasingly moving complex and critical tasks to third-party environments. In these cases, cloud buyers often need to retain control over their digital assets so that functionality can be adjusted in response to business needs. Balancing the need for control while still easing the management burden has pushed many organizations to move toward platform-as-a-service.

Cloud architecture manager and InformationWeek contributor Joe Masters Emison recently predicted that PaaS will become the future for the majority of web applications. Allowing third-party vendors to manage factors such as power, hardware, operating systems and backup enables companies to focus more on their core competencies. The challenge for buyers will be to determine which PaaS vendor can best meet business needs due to the number of different components in these solutions.

Cloud infrastructure providers should always be ready to answer questions regarding performance and reliability. As Emison noted, customers are likely come to the table with additional concerns in regard to PaaS. The solution's supported programming languages and database structures play heavily into these decisions. Just as with any other deployment, the level of security and supplemental services can serve as differentiating factors for vendors.

The advantages of PaaS may soon tempt numerous businesses. As a recent CloudTweaks article noted, private PaaS solutions offer developers flexibility in resource provisioning. This freedom is better suited for the continuous changes that arise from the agile development strategy. In addition, the technology's scalability allows IT teams to deploy a larger number of applications in a short amount of time.

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