Up in the clouds - IaaS or PaaS

Only a matter of years ago, scaling up or down when it came to websites involved a developer starting up racks of new machines, which would chug away in the corner of a room. Nowadays, everything is apparently ‘up in the cloud’. But what does this actually mean for your Sitecore website?

In the first days of the cloud, web developers turned to IaaS – or Infrastructure As A Service – which is basically a virtual server in the cloud. In this model, a cloud provider hosts the infrastructure components traditionally present in an on-premises data centre, such as servers, storage and networking hardware. There might also be additional services available, such as back-up and recovery. 

When Sitecore 9 was unveiled, a whole new world opened up in the form of PaaS – or Platform As A Service – a form of cloud computing that provides the platform and environment to build applications and services. It consists of servers, storage and networking components and can build, test, deploy and manage updates. 

PaaS is a complete ecosystem in the cloud, with resources that enable you to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications. 
Like IaaS, PaaS includes infrastructure – servers, storage and networking – but also middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems and more. PaaS is designed to support the complete web application life cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing and updating.

PaaS allows you to avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing software licences, the underlying application infrastructure and middleware or the development tools and other resources. You manage the applications and services that you develop, and the cloud service provider typically manages everything else.

Sitecore’s introduction to PaaS has come through the expansion of its partnership benefits with Microsoft, which has seen Sitecore 9 hosted on Azure.

Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud computing services to help your organisation meet its business challenges. It offers the freedom to build, manage and deploy applications on a massive, global network, using your preferred tools and frameworks, including Sitecore.

Azure PaaS allows users to focus on application innovation and avoid the complexity of building and maintaining the underlying infrastructure and also eliminate the need to perform IT tasks such as patching, networking, and server management.

According to Microsoft Azure, PaaS offers the same advantages as IaaS. But its additional features (middleware, development tools and other business tools etc) give you more advantages, such as:

Cut coding time: PaaS development tools can cut the time it takes to code new apps with pre-coded application components built into the platform, such as workflow, directory services, security features, search and so on.

Add development capabilities: PaaS components can give your development team new capabilities without your needing to add staff with the required skills.

Develop for multiple platforms more easily: Some service providers give you development options for multiple platforms, such as computers, mobile devices and browsers, making cross-platform apps quicker and easier to develop.

Support geographically distributed development teams: Because the development environment is accessed over the Internet, development teams can work together on projects, even when team members are in remote locations.

Efficiently manage the application life cycle: PaaS provides all of the capabilities that you need to support the complete web application life cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing and updating within the same integrated environment.

A Forrester ‘Total Economic Impact’ study, which was commissioned by Microsoft, revealed that significant business benefits are achieved for customers who have moved their applications from on-premises or IaaS model to Azure’s PaaS deployment. 

There are a number of benefits to hosting Sitecore XP on Azure PaaS, including agility and scalability. Azure PaaS offers speed and power to manage your digital marketing projects; while it also provides the flexibility to automatically scale to meet demand. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Sitecore works on PaaS and take advantage of the increased speed and agility, improved scalability and resilience it offers, then give Lake Solutions a call today.

Article Details

Ian Jepp
17 June 2019