Public PaaS and private SaaS offerings accelerate DevOps adoption

Be it an online Git repository, or a private CI server run on OpenStack, a variety of compelling public and private SaaS and PaaS offerings are helping to accelerate DevOps adoption.

From cloud based IDEs to SCM repositories and continuous integration servers, the past couple of years have shown an increasing demand for "as a Service" solutions that enterprises can employ for both their development and operations teams. From public PaaS to private SaaS,  innovative cloud-based solutions are helping to make DevOps adoption to become a reality.

In past discussions with Tyler Jewell, the Codenvy CEO shared insights about why distributed solutions are catching on for many aspects of code development. In general terms, it all comes down to operational efficiency and control. When development teams can spend less of their time on non-coding activities and more on actual coding and collaboration, they are more productive. For example, the Codenvy development environment, available in on-premise and SaaS models, removes the need for developers to configure or maintain local or VM-based developer environments for their projects. They also get access to resources far beyond their local hardware and can easily coordinate with a distributed team.

GitLabs gits on board with SaaS

It’s well integrated so you can go all the way from making an issue and chatting about it to running your CI on it.

Sytse 'Sid' Sijbrandijm,
co-founder and CEO, GitLab

Today, the tech sector is drilling down deeper into the development stack to provide 'as a service' solutions that might seem less obvious. GitLab, an open source Git-based collaboration platform is an example of such a tool. To capture a broad cross-section of the business market, GitLab offers on-premise, private cloud, and single tenant hosted solutions.

Sytse 'Sid' Sijbrandijm, co-founder and CEO of GitLab, offered his opinion on why a service oriented solution appeals to enterprises. "It's a great option to host your repos because it's an open source project with lots of features the enterprise needs. It's well integrated so you can go all the way from making an issue and chatting about it to running your CI on it." For enterprise, ease of implementation is also a concern. The solution comes with a complete importer for GitHub. One button is all it takes to import an organization's repos, issues, wikis, and merge requests.

The overall advantages of GitLab are touted as promoting timely peer review, enhancing communication and increasing code quality. Timing is everything. As Sid pointed out, "The best time for code review is before the code is live. But email is too cumbersome for review purposes. You need a tool that allows you to make a comment and discuss alternatives while there is still room for that. With GitLab, that really happens. It's a powerful tool to make your development process more effective."

Private SaaS—it's not a contradiction

The term "private SaaS" has been called an oxymoron since SaaS is typically thought of as remote and private as on-prem. Yet with closer consideration, it's not necessarily a paradox. Private SaaS run internally by an enterprise may offer an efficient and easily managed infrastructure to provide software services to multiple entities across an organization. The number of total instances required may be reduced even if the service needs to be rolled out to distributed teams in distant geographic regions.

Andre Pino, VP of Marketing at CloudBees, says their private SaaS option was created in response to consumer demand. "Our customers have come to us and said, 'We want to provide Jenkins as a Service internally to our teams. We want to control it, run it on our own infrastructure.' It's like running a small SaaS implementation internally. It runs on a private cloud with open stack infrastructure or even in Amazon with a VPC connection back to the enterprise."

Security is obviously an aspect of private SaaS that appeals to the enterprise customer. When IT can run the application behind the organization's own firewall they feel much more comfortable. Internal deployment provides very close control over compute resources allocation as well.

Enterprises also seek control over configuration of the Jenkins environment. As Andre mentioned, "There are over a thousand plugins for Jenkins. Not all of them are well-written." With CloudBees, "The administrator of the Private SaaS edition can control which plugins are available to the Jenkins servers they are running." The private solution also provides audit capability and visibility into what's happening within Jenkins from a usage standpoint.

As more aspects of code development come under review in today's increasingly lean enterprises, the use of a SaaS model to streamline and optimize the process will likely become more popular. Whether big businesses want to keep everything on premise or are willing to leverage the cost-efficiency of the cloud for DevOps, there's a SaaS for that.

What do you see as the big trends in the world of public and private SaaS? Let us know.

This was last published in March 2016

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