Today’s competitive landscape demands software that quickly integrates new capabilities, ubiquitous data available on any device, and cloud-native apps that meet users’ expectations in terms of functionality and ease of use. At Intel, a combination of DevOps methodologies with a private cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) has replaced slow and cumbersome traditional approaches to development, testing and deployment. Intel found that the new PaaS solution reduced application development time from weeks to a single day.1
Why Private PaaS?
We chose to pursue private PaaS for several reasons. First, some applications are mission-critical to Intel, and at the time we built our private PaaS solution (2015 to 2016 timeframe), the public cloud was still under consideration for broader use cases beyond the few obvious ones – making these applications less viable for public-cloud hosting. Other applications are highly sensitive to latency, meaning keeping them entirely on-premises makes more sense for performance reasons. Effective and secure integration with public cloud environments was also a concern.
For us, private PaaS offered a solution to several hurdles facing application developers and the business in general, including:
- Time to market
- Pace of development
Read more about each of these below.
Time to market: Historically, application development using manual, custom services on dedicated compute infrastructure took up to 24 weeks. Moving up the cloud maturity ladder to private infrastructure as a service (IaaS) reduced that time to less than six weeks. But that still wasn’t agile enough.
Pace of development: Long gone are the days when application developers could afford to release a new version of an application once a year, or even once every six months. Our developers need to frequently incorporate new functionality or fix bugs, sometimes on a daily basis. Tasks such as patching and security updates had to be automated, to free developers to focus on writing code.
Integration: With thousands of applications in use at Intel, all accessing many sources of data, and interacting with one another, integrating this using external connectivity was a daunting task, even for our most experienced developers.
Cost: Without the multitenancy offered by PaaS, resource utilization was inefficient. And, when we assessed private versus public PaaS, we found that hosting PaaS on our existing private enterprise cloud was 44 percent less expensive than hosting it in the public cloud.2
Compliance: Compliance considerations are an important aspect of adopting cloud-based services; constantly changing policies at the local, regional and national levels can make compliance in the public cloud complex.
How Does PaaS Fit into Intel’s Hybrid Cloud Strategy?
As Intel’s product and services portfolio grows, and as we continue down the path of “anything as a service” (XaaS), use of our private PaaS solution has grown enormously – more capabilities, more tools, more development. Some teams are already using PaaS solutions from the public cloud providers with which Intel engages. As a result, we are exploring our PaaS options going forward.
One option is to extend our existing PaaS solution across more clouds (our private cloud and one or more public clouds), creating a seamless abstraction. Another option is to explore native offerings from various cloud providers and understand the implications of using those in certain cases. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, sticking with our internally developed solution avoids the possibility of vendor lock-in and takes advantage of tribal knowledge amongst our teams, while “going native” gives us access to new capabilities that the service provider may offer.
In any case, whichever solution we decide on – the debate is ongoing – we must make sure we have backup and migration strategies that smoothly and reliably handle migration from one cloud to another.
To learn more about PaaS at Intel and the benefits we have gained from private PaaS, read our paper, “Utilizing PaaS for Business Agility and IT Efficiency.” We hope to share our hybrid PaaS plans later this year.