Buyer's Handbook:

BaaS vs. MBaaS platforms: Factors to consider in the buying decision

Choose MBaaS or BaaS platform wisely for mobile app development tools

It has taken fewer than nine years since the July 2008 launch of the Apple App Store for mobile apps to become the undisputed centerpiece of any modern computing experience, pushing desktop-centric, browser-based web apps to the sidelines. Along with the evolution of mobile apps -- from novelty add-ons to mission-critical main attractions -- a corresponding maturation and deepening sophistication in mobile app development tools has come. Choosing wisely is crucial for success.

Building mobile apps is a multidisciplined endeavor, encompassing the actual app appearance and logic on the front end to communications and security in the middle and onto processing logic with database access and API-based multicloud integration on the back end. The spectrum of tools required to accomplish these varied tasks -- once called MBaaS (mobile backend as a service) -- is now morphing into simply BaaS (backend as a service).

With the mobile computing experience no longer seen as an adjunct but rather as an integral component of any cloud-based computing system, vendors have adopted two differing philosophies about the nature of BaaS platform development tool offerings -- both equally valid and compelling. One approach centers on vendors specializing in stand-alone tool sets, essentially an expansive collection of snap-together services that can run on any cloud or within a private on-premises data center. The other approach, taken by the major public cloud platform providers, is to provide the BaaS platform as part of their overall development and cloud operations offerings. While the first approach offers BaaS specialization and portability, the second advances the all-in-one simplicity of build it here, run it here.

This buyer's handbook examines these two divergent approaches to the BaaS platform and explores the key features of mobile app development tools essential for developing, deploying and managing the modern mobile computing experience.