Assessing cloud development platforms - What Platform as a Service offers and what not

Gaß, Oliver ; Meth, Hendrik ; Maedche, Alexander

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-322735
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2012
The title of a journal, publication series: Working Paper Series in Information Systems
Volume: 003
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Institut für Enterprise Systems (InES)
Business School > Wirtschaftsinformatik IV (Mädche -2015)
MADOC publication series: Area Information Systems and Institute for Enterprise Systems > Working Paper Series in Information Systems
Subject: 000 Generalities
Abstract: Cloud computing has rapidly become a computing paradigm of great interest to the research and practitioner community. In addition to the provisioning of cloud-based software services, a plethora of solutions for the development of these services in the cloud have emerged. Cloud-based development platforms, also known as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) include a broad spectrum of elaborated application-level services. Architects and developers willing to exploit the advantages of this new technology for the software development process are confronted with a complex decision problem. Which PaaS characteristics are of specific importance for cloud-based development? What are major limitations negatively influencing the development process? In order to address these questions, we carried out a comprehensive case study. Nineteen developer groups comprising three master student developers each were asked to develop a cloud-based talent management software service. Each group was presented the same set of requirements, and randomly assigned one out of three pre-selected PaaS products. The groups were asked to record every development step during the four month project in a developer diary and also write a comprehensive project report. Within the developer diary as well as the final report particular topics had to be addressed, e.g. the time needed for the development of each requirement, helpful characteristics of the platform which supported efficient development of particular features, but also hindering characteristics or missing functionalities. The collected data was analyzed and a set of key characteristics for PaaS solutions was identified. Twelve functional and non-functional characteristics of PaaS solutions which were perceived as either helpful or hindering during the development project were extracted. For example, reusable platform objects were perceived as an important functional characteristic positively influencing the development process in the cloud. In contrast, limited DBMS functionalities were identified as a hindering characteristic by the developers. Our research is of specific relevance for practitioners dealing with development in the cloud; we provide guidelines for PaaS vendors and help architects and developers in the selection process for an appropriate PaaS solution.

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