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Understanding Cloud Models: Build or Buy

Cloud platforms and applications that are built on these platforms are proliferating across all enterprises. The year 2019 will see a similar trend where cloud consumption is anticipated to grow significantly, driving new digital businesses. Cloud provides the fundamental Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) layer for your applications.

Scale, speed, security, and resiliency are some key factors driving decisions around consuming cloud as IaaS. Coupled with availability of skills and time to market, cloud adoption renders two primary choices when it comes to building apps on cloud:

  • “Build,” where a host of cloud services could be used to build your DevSecOps pipeline and deliver your application on cloud, and
  • “Buy,” where an off-the-shelf product manages the underlying granularity of your DevSecOps pipeline and lets your team do what they do best – build next-gen apps.

In-house skillsets, business objectives, application stacks, and cloud service models are some key factors driving an organization’s decision on “build” vs “buy.” Most organizations still choose to start with “build.” However, as cloud adoption matures and building on IaaS becomes another data center operation, “buy” is gaining prevalence.

The need for a resilient and optimized environment resulted in the advent and advancement of Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions. Their seamless integration with public cloud gave developers the necessary abstraction from IaaS, which resulted in higher productivity, lower maintenance, and speedy development. As such, “buy” has been gaining traction, especially in this era of time to market being of utmost importance.

Innovation and agility will keep your organization competitive, especially in a world where disruptors are born in cloud.


To “build” requires skills and capabilities within the organization to architect and develop on cloud. This could be okay if you are testing the cloud, building green-field apps or are planning to re-platform certain workloads on cloud. However, as cloud adoption grows, so does the complexity in building and managing the infrastructure surrounding it. The operational aspect of “build” tends to get complex and require specialties across many areas, including architecture, development and operations.

The decisions surrounding architectures can get particularly complex when identifying services that cloud has to offer. Public cloud offerings have many services to choose from. To build a large set of applications in a consistent and organized way becomes increasingly challenging when you decide to “build.”

If it’s a cloud-native, DIY model, architecture governance is a persistent issue. App development teams can build and develop architectures that can significantly deviate from each other.

Controlling your development environment is definitely a strong reason to opt for “build.” However, as applications based on cloud increase over time, scaling becomes an inherent challenge. This is especially the case when your organization sticks to the “build” model. Is there another option that might be better?


The simplicity is in the name itself – “buy” it. There are economic implications when choosing this option, especially if the solution is a packaged third-party solution. However, the ability to deliver consistent and resilient apps through a standardized environment makes this option tenable.

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are an option in the “buy” category. However, SaaS solutions are least flexible in terms of service delivery. Is there another option that can help scale your app requirements and still continue to provide flexibility?

This brings us to the sprouting world of PaaS models. PaaS is a cloud computing model in which a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools to users and abstracts them from the underlying infrastructure. Using PaaS development can be coherent, simple and consistent. Some large players in this space are Pivotal, Red Hat, and IBM.

PaaS solutions are generic and might not meet your organization’s specific requirements. However, trading some control for consistency definitely puts your app development teams in the right sphere of cloud adoptions. Moreover, it results in greater development speed in smaller teams operating in an agile development environment.

The decision

The decision to “build” or “buy” stems from your organization’s business needs and capabilities. Organizations’ culture, execution methodology, technology stack, and internal skills play a vital role in making this decision.

For those new to cloud or undergoing a transition, these answers might not be readily available. This is where companies like Perficient come in and go through this process with you. Although transitioning to cloud is now seen as necessary, not many are experts in this space. On your 2019 cloud adoption roadmap, let us help you on this decision to “build” or “buy.” We have the skills, we have the experience, and more importantly we have a customer-focused mindset to help you succeed.

The blogs that follow in this series will impart some of our expertise to inform your next cloud adoption decision.

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