What is actually behind the technological trend of Platform as a Service? What advantages or stumbling blocks does this technological approach offer? And how should PaaS be evaluated in the context of the growing trend towards cloud computing? Germanedge CTO Erwin Vervondel shares his knowledge about PaaS, Microservices and cloud computing based on his long-term experience as software architect in an interview!
Interview with Germanedge CTO Erwin Vervondel
Erwin, why is the topic of PaaS now so present in discussions about digitisation strategies? What is the big advantage?
“The main advantage of PaaS is to enable a uniform approach on building new enterprise-wide business solutions. Instead of bringing applications separately to the cloud, each with their own IT backbone, PaaS offers a good solid common backbone for all applications. Running on the same PaaS platform, application builders do not have to worry about common services. They can focus on the application content itself instead of spending a lot of effort on designing non-functional technology.”
Sounds like PaaS would be the perfect choice for every production. Are there also disadvantages or stumbling blocks that should be considered during implementation?
“Of course. Possible stumbling blocks lay in the choice of the PaaS platform. It all comes down to the platform choice. Will you build a platform on your own from scratch? Will you attach yourself to a vendor specific PaaS solution or will you go for a vendor independent solution using open-source components? For openness and future flexibility, the last option is often the best.”
In your opinion, what is the biggest potential problem with digitisation approaches that do not rely on a platform solution?
“The biggest potential problem in not relying on a platform is that in that way you keep on having a lot of separate isolated information islands. To get a global you, you need to invest in all kinds of application interfaces and central reporting solutions. A change in one proprietary system might impact the interaction with other systems. Maximum efficiency is hardly achievable in this way.”
What does this mean for productions that are currently looking for software solutions to digitise their production processes?
“A production company looking for a solution should definitely go for a PaaS based approach. This makes sure that all their data is accessible, interchangeable, and future proof. They should not try to re-invent the wheel themselves. They should go for a well-proven stable open central solution.”
From a technical point of view: One aspect that seems to be becoming increasingly important is software solutions with a microservice architecture. What is the big advantage of a microservice-based architecture?
“The main advantage of using a microservice based architecture is to be able to scale down the large production domain into many microservices each dealing with a small, dedicated subdomain. This allows a very pluggable and scalable approach. Depending on the company functional needs, microservices can be added or removed. So instead of installing big monolithic applications, the application installation suits exactly the needs of your production. A microservices architecture also can deal with application bottlenecks by simply scaling out into multiple instances of the same microservice.”
Another ongoing discussion has for some time revolved around the question: cloud computing versus edge computing. What trend do you see regarding this topic?
“Cloud computing will always have to live together with edge computing. The main shift however will be that all standard business/production processes will be handled on the cloud platform. Edge computing will still be used to handle/capture production data and push it to the cloud. So: it is not an OR-OR but an AND-AND approach.”
Let us conclude our interesting talk with a closer look at the development of cloud computing: According to Gartner, the perspective of cloud as a pure technology platform will shift significantly by 2025. The cloud will not only be a technological approach to application delivery but will also serve as the main driver for business innovation. What does this mean for the digitalisation of production?
“By have standard solid cloud platforms available, digitalisation of production will become ‘easy’. Production companies do not have to worry anymore on how to deal with their IT/software infrastructure. Using a PaaS solutions take their efforts away and lets them focus on their production itself instead of the IT around it.”
Does this shift the role of a cloud-based platform solution?
“The role is shifted into the fact that it will be a de-facto standard for production. Currently a PaaS platform is a brand new, ‘pioneering’ approach. By 2025, it will be a common/standard choice for your production.”
Thank you, Erwin, for this talk and the interesting insights!
Would you like to rely on the technology of the future with your production today? Find out more about our PaaS solution here!