Platforms in the cloud take heavy lifting out of architecture tasks

As tech giants battle for cloud dominance, businesses looking to offload heavy-duty infrastructure tasks are reaping hefty rewards from platform-as-a-service offerings. Here’s how three IT leaders mixed and matched their powerful yet flexible PaaS packages.

For six years, Watchfinder, a U.K.-based global buyer and seller of pre-owned luxury watches, split the role of DevOps between application development and management of a virtual infrastructure environment. But the company's ambitious growth plans, which included expansion to the U.S. earlier this year and an expected doubling of monthly watch sales, required IT director Jonathan Gill to think differently.

His plan was to find efficiencies in operations so that more resources could be dedicated to development.

"We've grown rapidly over the past couple of years, and my team has been expanding, but not on the infrastructure side — only developers," he says.

To align with the company's goals, Gill turned to a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, a cloud-based system that eliminates the need for hands-on attention to the underlying architecture of an application environment. The PaaS setup provides development and deployment services, as well as a variety of runtime middleware services to facilitate the construction, testing and operation of applications.

Big tech players — including Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, among others — have entered the PaaS market, creating platforms that free customers from the heavy lifting of architecture configuration, deployment and management to focus more fully on development of core applications.

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