PaaS isn't what it used to be

Without infrastructure, you can't have a real platform service; with infrastructure, it can do much more than aid developers

Platform as a service (PaaS) isn't what it used to be. In the past, PaaS was defined as anything that related to application development, testing, and deployment. Indeed, IDC defines categories of PaaS offerings as APaaS (application PaaS), DPaaS (database PaaS), cloud-based tests, and IPaaS (integration PaaS).

But now PaaS is morphing with infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These days, it's tough to figure out where IaaS ends and PaaS begins, and vice versa. Most IaaS providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google, offer both PaaS and IaaS options. Moreover, these services are interdependent, meaning they morph into a single platform. I think at some point it will be hard to separate the concepts of PaaS and IaaS, at least for the larger providers.

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Where we are going with technology is clear: PaaS and IaaS will become one single pattern of technology. Why? PaaS isn't much good unless you have the infrastructure to support the resulting applications, and IaaS doesn't really help unless you have the ability to create solutions that run on the infrastructure. PaaS must have infrastructure, and infrastructure must have PaaS.

PaaS as defined in 2008 as application, development, testing, and deployment is becoming very different. It's part of something larger -- perhaps capable of providing more business value. That explains why IDC sees it now growing at 30 percent a year. That's a good thing, right?

This article, "PaaS isn't what it used to be," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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