The positives of PaaS on private cloud


By Aden Axen, General Manager – Cloud Services, Atturra Managed Services
Friday, 22 September, 2023

The positives of PaaS on private cloud

As more lessons are learned about what it takes — and costs — to run long term in public cloud, Australian companies are starting to reconsider their choices and to utilise a broader range of options.

One of the emerging options that is gaining traction is Platform as a Service (PaaS) running on private cloud infrastructure.

This takes an operating model that’s commonly associated with public cloud, but runs it on private cloud infrastructure that is more cost-effective and that may better meet certain data security concerns.

In the past few years, PaaS has emerged as an attractive type of cloud because it enables companies to operate further ‘up the stack’.

When most companies talk about moving to cloud, their intention is to source and consume IT infrastructure on-demand, but to maintain responsibility for the way the different infrastructure components are stitched together, and for operating systems and other middleware that has to run on that infrastructure so it can be used to host their applications and data.

PaaS sees the cloud provider take on more responsibility, managing the operating system, middleware and the administrative interface — that is, everything up to the application.

By offloading more of that responsibility to the cloud provider, a company can focus on developing great cloud-native software, knowing the provider will ensure everything underneath the application is well-managed and runs optimally.

Private cloud still beats public cloud

Despite all the attention on public cloud, it still ranks second to private cloud by percentage of workloads hosted — and this is expected to continue through to at least mid-2026, when just under half of all IT and application workloads are expected to sit in private cloud.

This shows private cloud is already the type of cloud that most companies choose to utilise.

There’s also been increased attention in the past couple of years on some of the shortcomings of a public cloud-only model. The learnings of public cloud adopters are having an influential effect on prospective adoptees, and are likely to drive more companies in the direction of private cloud — and private cloud-based PaaS — in the near term.

Public cloud challenges

It’s worth considering some of the challenges companies have encountered with public clouds.

The adoption of multiple public cloud platforms has increased the complexity of data security, exacerbating fears of a data breach incident, data loss and leakage risks. Companies must establish adequate security policies and practices to ensure data security and regulatory compliance. However, data security is hindered by the lack of talent and knowledge.

Without the right people to oversee the transition, companies can struggle to successfully migrate to the cloud. Many companies cite a lack of knowledge and expertise as their main challenge regarding cloud migration. It is crucial to migrate established applications with care and attention to detail; otherwise, the migration may fail.

Migrating critical and legacy applications to public clouds can be particularly challenging, as companies must determine if these applications can operate effectively in a shared environment. Unfortunately, due to a lack of expertise and awareness of potential obstacles, many businesses become stuck during this stage of the migration process.

Growing data sovereignty regulations in countries including Australia also presents challenges around controlling and managing where data is stored and used, and who has access to it. According to the Thales 2023 Cloud Security Study, 83% of respondents worldwide admit that data sovereignty can impact their cloud deployment strategies.

Public cloud users have also learned about the challenges of vendor lock-in. While it often costs little or nothing to move workloads or data into the public cloud, moving them back out can attract high fees. In addition, as applications may have to be redeveloped to work in a public cloud, that can be another barrier to moving them out in future.

Finally, public cloud users have to deal with intricate and fluctuating pricing and billing models, affected by variables such as usage, performance, availability, location, and features. Additionally, cloud prices and discounts can change frequently based on market conditions and the provider’s policies. This can make it difficult to predict and control costs, as well as compare and optimise spending across various providers and services.

The case for PaaS

For companies not yet in public cloud, or that have been deciding which direction to go in with the majority of their workloads, these experiences and learnings may help them avoid some of the pitfalls associated with public cloud. Private cloud, and particularly PaaS in private cloud, represents a good way to do so.

PaaS platforms provide affordable access to a diverse range of resources, services and capabilities that are beyond the practical and financial capacity of most organisations, especially small and medium-sized. With PaaS, companies can purchase additional capacity and use it immediately whenever they need it, and it can also reduce the overall costs of application management.

Companies are quickly realising that PaaS offers a far more powerful multi-tenant capability than public clouds, having the flexibility to integrate and manage their applications according to business needs and budgets.

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