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Going whole hog on PaaS?

Going whole hog on PaaS?

The last few years have seen the rise of Platform as a Service (PaaS) as part of the computing landscape, through the success and growth of numerous public and private offerings, both commercial and open source.

The promise of a unified platform that abstracts away language/application runtimes, data services, and systems management into a single platform that has automation, logging, metrics, auto-scaling, and self-service all baked in, is extremely appealing and implementing some kind of PaaS strategy is often a topic when discuss how to "do DevOps", as the ideas that PaaS encompasses include many core DevOps principles and the idea of a turn-key solution is hard to resist.
Unfortunately, in many ways the landscape is still young and the solutions available take many different approaches, from hosted offerings like Heroku, DotCloud, or Nodejitsu, to large scale, one-size fits all in-house offerings like CloudFoundry, OpenShift, or Stackato, to newer and more targeted (often Docker based) offerings, such as Deis, Dokku, or Flynn. So it's difficult to know where to begin and what's truly turn-key, and how far these solutions will get you in a reasonable amount of time and effort.
Drawing on my years of experience in the web hosting industry and my experience over the last two years in implementing a production in-house PaaS offering at Mozilla, I will attempt to:
* Provide a concise overview of the PaaS landscape

* Lend some insight into what PaaS might be good for you, based on some attributes of your organization, culture, technology stack, and technical debt

* Share some lessons learned in implementing a production PaaS at Mozilla, including cultural challenges, shifts in thinking required to adopting a PaaS ( the http://12factor.net/ mindset), and technical challenges, such as managed shared secrets, removing reliance on shared filesystems (NFS), etc

* Provide guidance on why you may not want to adopt any PaaS solution, but instead determine how to apply your existing infrastructure automation (Configuration Management, IaaS, CI pipeline, etc) with some custom automation, APIs, self-service tools, to achieve the promise of PaaS and apply "PaaS patterns" to your existing tools and workflows.

In the end, you'll leave this talk with more insight into what PaaS means, how you can apply the patterns it embodies to improve your automation, your workflows, and ultimately your culture, and you'll know if you should go whole hog on PaaS or not.


Brandon Burton

April 28, 2014


  1. going whole hog on paas? 1 Monday, April 28, 14

  2. who am I? brandon burton @solarce (on all the things)

    webops, devops, gifs 2 Monday, April 28, 14
  3. why should you listen to me? been doing web operations

    for eight years saas web hosting mozilla 3 Monday, April 28, 14
  4. why should you listen to me? early adopter of PaaS

    heroku (when it was just rubby) dotCloud (best free tier early on) now Docker, Inc AppFog (PHP) 4 Monday, April 28, 14
  5. why should you listen to me? been building a PaaS

    at Mozilla for over two years Feb 2012, experimented CloudFoundry (just clone git master) OpenShift (nightly build rpms) Sept 2012, built on ActiveState’s Stackato product (turnkey) 5 Monday, April 28, 14
  6. let’s set some vocabulary PaaS: Platform as a Service Cloud:

    Hosted Compute, Network, Storage, API driven, Elastic, On-Demand 6 Monday, April 28, 14
  7. let’s set some vocabulary Runtime: a language runtime, e.g. Python,

    Java/Clojure/Scala (JVM), Ruby, PHP Framework: for building apps in a language, e.g. Django, Node.JS, Rails Data Service: external data store like databases, message queues, in-memory cache, full text indexing 7 Monday, April 28, 14
  8. kinds of paas General Purpose Language Specific 8 Monday, April

    28, 14
  9. kinds of paas General Purpose Hosted Heroku OpenShift AppFog HP

    Cloud aPaaS (Stackato based) 9 Monday, April 28, 14
  10. kinds of paas General Purpose In-House CloudFoundry OpenShift Stackato Flynn,

    Deis, Dokku 10 Monday, April 28, 14
  11. kinds of paas Language Specific Nodejitsu (node.js) Acquia (PHP) CloudBees

    (Java) Gondor (Python) Railscloud (Ruby) 11 Monday, April 28, 14
  12. patterns of paas 12 Monday, April 28, 14

  13. patterns of paas self-service 13 Monday, April 28, 14

  14. patterns of paas cli 14 Monday, April 28, 14

  15. patterns of paas api 15 Monday, April 28, 14

  16. patterns of paas data services 16 Monday, April 28, 14

  17. patterns of paas logging / metrics 17 Monday, April 28,

  18. patterns of paas montitoring/alerting 18 Monday, April 28, 14

  19. whole hog? probably not 19 Monday, April 28, 14

  20. whole hog? what are you already doing well? 20 Monday,

    April 28, 14
  21. whole hog? learn from patterns! 21 Monday, April 28, 14

  22. whole hog? what can you buy/saas? 22 Monday, April 28,

  23. conclusions many excellent PaaS offerings for a variety of needs

    adopting a general purpose PaaS is a large undertaking you may only need to build/buy a few tools to be “PaaS-like” 23 Monday, April 28, 14
  24. what next? follow @solarce on Twitter participate in hangops share

    your own experience at a future LA DevOps round table session 24 Monday, April 28, 14