By Tim Handorf
It’s a jungle out there in developer land, and the stats can prove it. Case in point? For a recent G2 Crowd Grid Report Survey, 200 developers shared what they love—and hate—about the current crop of Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools available on the market.
We learned that when it comes to researching and purchasing new tools, many developers tend to shy away from returning sales calls, and instead select products based on peer recommendations. But, with well over 50 products on the market, which PaaS platform is a developer’s first choice? To find out, first, we determined their six top buying considerations as well as the top seven key criteria of real users to help developers understand what the best tools on the market are and why.
Top Considerations When Buying PaaS
As many software sales and procurement professionals know, buyer considerations make or break a deal. According to the survey, the top considerations of buyers looking into PaaS software include programming languages, public versus private, open source versus proprietary, service uptime, pricing structure, and integrations.
Every PaaS platform supports a different set of programming languages, so it is important that the product is compatible with your language of choice.
Cloud hosting can be done privately or publicly. Privately hosted PaaS is installed on hardware and maintained, but grants better control, security, and compliance.
Open-source provides more customizability and portability, while proprietary provides better support models, giving users better assurance and stability.
Downtime is a necessary evil needed to improve and maintain the platform, so it is critical to get advanced warning from providers whenever possible.
Services are priced in a variety of models; some are monthly while others are flat-rate fees per developer.
PaaS will have to integrate with other development tools already in place and the complexity of these integrations ties directly to time and effort spent to implement the platform.
Top Key Criteria Used to Evaluate PaaS Tools
Although subjective, measuring user experience before, during, and after an interaction with software is a key indicator of use as well as future purchases.
As noted by our independent technology users who participated in the survey, the top seven criteria used to evaluate PaaS tools include user satisfaction, product direction, ease of setup, support, usability, meets requirements, and market presence.
User registration measures are based on a customer’s likelihood of recommending the product, satisfaction ratings, and how many and how recently reviews were submitted for the product.
Product direction measures if a user believes the product is improving and is headed in a good direction for the consumer.
Ease of setup measures if the product was easy to setup and rollout to the user base.
Support measures the quality of support from the vendor’s support team and if they are able to answer cases and questions quickly.
Usability measures if the product is a delight to use and whether it is easy to learn and improves productivity.
Meets requirements measures if the product met all the businesses requirements a user expected.
Market presence is based on number of employees, social impact, market share, Web traffic momentum, age of the company, employee satisfaction, and revenue growth.
Based on over 200 real-user reviews from developers, four products stood out as “Leaders” or “High Performers” on G2 Crowd including Microsoft Azure, Heroku, OpenShift, and Digital Ocean.
One user, Marco P., notes that “Microsoft Azure can be used as PaaS or Infrastructure as a Service. In the first case, you can deploy applications, services, or websites extremely quick and you can very easily configure them to better suit your needs, or your customer’s needs.”
UserViresh H., reviews Heroku, a Salesforce Company. “The leader in the emerging PaaS industry is Heroku, an extensible and well-connected cloud hosting platform that makes deploying and managing applications in several popular languages almost effortless.”
User Curtis R. describes the advantages of redhat’s OpenShift’s PaaS. “I use OpenShift to host pretty much all of my personal sites and blogs. It’s a fantastically simple solution with a great command line tool that handles deploys and gear management. In fact, I switched to the service from one of its competitors and the similarity with how you manage deployments and configuration made it absolutely painless.”
Mathieu S. speaks to the PaaS power of Digital Ocean, including an affordable price and extensive knowledge base. “For a ridiculous price, you will get plenty of CPU, RAM, and SSD space with Digital Ocean. Choose your OS/distribution, and in about a minute, you’re ready to go! You’ll also have a very decent amount of monthly bandwidth. Server response time is great. Another thing I really like is their knowledge base that is really up to date with today’s trends in software, frameworks, and security.”
Leveraging the power of your peers to help find the right solution—as opposed to analysts reports—demonstrates the true power of collective intelligence. It also helps buyers—or in this case developers—make purchase decisions with confidence. SW
Tim Handorf is the president and co-founder of G2 Crowd. He has spent more than 15 years developing and delivering software in a variety of roles.
Feb2016, Software Magazine