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Top 10 PaaS providers of 2024 and what they offer you

PaaS is a good option for developers who want control over application hosting and simplified app deployment, but not all PaaS tools offer the same feature set.

PaaS is a cloud computing platform designed to enable organizations to deploy, provision and run applications without needing to build out the underlying infrastructure. In essence, the cloud provider delivers the infrastructure, while the organization either provides its own application or uses an application that has been made available by the cloud provider.

There are many PaaS providers to choose from, but all providers aren't created equal. Although most providers tend to offer the same basic set of services, they also have their own unique feature offerings and limitations. For example, a PaaS provider might choose to support Python, but not Java. Providers can also differ dramatically from one another in terms of pricing. As such, carefully assess the various PaaS providers to see which will best meet your needs before settling on a provider. To help, here's a breakdown of the top PaaS providers of 2024 listed in alphabetical order.

1. AWS Elastic Beanstalk

AWS Elastic Beanstalk is Amazon's native platform for deploying web applications. The service supports Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, Python, Ruby, Go and Docker. Code can be hosted on Apache, Nginx, Passenger or IIS web servers.

Like many of the other PaaS options discussed here, Elastic Beanstalk is designed to act as a managed service that frees you from having to build out infrastructure or perform any complex configurations. It automatically handles scaling, load balancing, health monitoring and capacity provisioning. Amazon also makes it possible to use CPU metrics to scale an application up or down based on demand. One thing that makes Elastic Beanstalk unique is that although it's designed to act as a managed service, it also enables you to take manual control over the underlying infrastructure -- if you wish, for example, to configure a workload to run on a specific EC2 instance type.

2. Engine Yard

Engine Yard is a fully managed DevOps platform that is designed to simplify cloud application hosting. Engine Yard specializes in Ruby on Rails, but it also supports Node.js, Python, PHP and Java hosting. Engine Yard works on AWS and handles all the intricacies associated with hosting an application. An organization can send Engine Yard a Docker file and leave it to them to handle the hosting related complexities.

Besides handling the basic tasks associated with managing Kubernetes, Engine Yard also offers a variety of other low-level services, such as backups and restoration, as well as automatically scaling an application based on its performance requirements. Applications that are hosted with Engine Yard are tied to Grafana, which provides basic resource metrics. Additionally, Engine Yard can provide automatic alerts for application failures and other conditions.

3. Google App Engine

Google App Engine is a platform that enables organizations to build their own application on top of a serverless platform. Google App Engine is fully managed and supports Node.js, Ruby, Java, C#, Go, Python and PHP. Although these are the officially supported languages, Google supports bring your own language and using any library or framework through containerization.

Google App Engine is designed so you can build applications without regard for the underlying infrastructure. The serverless platform is fully managed and lets organizations scale their applications without having to do anything to the underlying infrastructure or perform complex configuration tasks.

4. Heroku

Heroku is a container-based PaaS environment. Applications run inside of smart containers, which Heroku calls dynos. Heroku handles all the infrastructure requirement for those containers. This includes logging, security, failover and orchestration. Containers can be scaled horizontally or vertically, and application metrics are available to help monitor application response times.

Heroku offers PostgreSQL as a service, but applications can also use any of the numerous add-ons that Heroku makes available. Some of these add-ons include New Relic, MongoDB, SendGrid, Fastly, Papertrail, ClearDB and MySQL. Heroku also supports the use of in-memory key value data stores.

From a developer standpoint, some of the more compelling features include GitHub integration and code and data rollback capabilities.

5. IBM Cloud

Like other major cloud platforms, such as AWS and Azure, IBM Cloud offers both PaaS and IaaS capabilities. There are two main PaaS options offered within the IBM Cloud.

The first of these services is IBM Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud. This service is based on the OpenShift Cloud Platform and intended for those who want to develop cloud-native applications. This service can be used to provision and scale workloads and automate the update process.

IBM's other platform is IBM Cloud Pak for Applications. This service is designed to help organizations modernize their existing applications. It is worth noting that the service has been deprecated, though it can still be used through OpenShift on the IBM Cloud.

PaaS provider features chart
Compare key features when evaluating PaaS providers to see which tool will meet current and future business needs.

6. Mendix aPaaS

The Mendix Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) is designed to simplify the process of deploying applications through single-click deployment. Although many PaaS tools simplify the process of deploying an application to the cloud, Mendix is unique in that it supports public and private clouds, as well as on-premises environments.

Another difference between Mendix aPaaS and some of the other platforms is that Mendix doesn't concentrate solely on the deployment process. It also seeks to expedite the application development process. Mendix offers reusable application components so that you don't have to build applications from scratch. As such, Mendix aPaaS could be described as a low-code environment. Mendix also features a visual development environment that has been specifically designed for building apps in iterative cycles.

7. Microsoft Azure Pipelines

Like other hyperscalers, Microsoft Azure includes numerous services that could be classified as PaaS. One such service is Microsoft Azure Pipelines, which is designed for extreme flexibility. It enables you to build applications with Node.js, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, C/C++ and Microsoft .NET. Applications can be run in parallel on Windows, Linux and MacOS. The service also enables the development of iOS and Android apps.

Although it's easy to assume that Azure Pipelines is designed to deploy apps to Azure, Azure Pipelines works with all the major clouds, including AWS and Google Cloud. The service also enables you to build and push images to container registries such as Docker Hub.

8. Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift is another Kubernetes-based PaaS option. Besides automating Kubernetes, OpenShift is designed to help organizations build applications more quickly. The software's source-to-image capabilities enable you to go straight from the application's code to a container.

Another nice thing about Red Hat OpenShift is that Red Hat provides an easy-to-use management console that lets you see and manage all of your Kubernetes clusters at once. Additionally, OpenShift is designed to provide a consistent experience, regardless of where the underlying OS is running.

9. Tanzu by Broadcom

Tanzu by Broadcom, formerly known as VMware Tanzu, is a portfolio of products designed to simplify the process of developing and deploying applications across multiple clouds. For example, the Tanzu Application Service platform is part of the Tanzu portfolio that helps developers quickly build and test applications no matter their familiarity with Kubernetes. It also provides a paved path to production with automating source-to-production pipelines.

Like most of the other PaaS platforms, Tanzu by Broadcom includes various Kubernetes automation features that are designed to simplify and speed up provisioning, deploying and monitoring containerized applications.

Tanzu by Broadcom also features tools to help with the application development process. These tools include options such as application templates, vulnerability scanning tools, policy enforcement and the ability to verify a container image at build time.

10. Wasabi Cloud Storage

Wasabi is a cloud storage provider and isn't technically a PaaS platform. However, the Wasabi cloud can play a role in an organization's PaaS use. Even though PaaS seeks to simplify application deployment by offering infrastructure as a managed service, application data still must be stored somewhere. Although you can store data on the cloud that is hosting the application, storing data on the Wasabi cloud might be a less costly option. Wasabi is AWS S3 compatible, but costs significantly less.

Wasabi offers direct high-speed connectivity to AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and others. This makes it possible to host applications on hyperscale clouds, but store the data associated with those applications on the low-cost Wasabi cloud.

Editor's note: The unranked list is based on web research and presented in alphabetical order.

Brien Posey is a 15-time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. He has served as a lead network engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense and as a network administrator for some of the largest insurance companies in America.

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