PaaS isn't dying -- it's becoming part of IaaS

PaaS's promise remains strong, but it's up to enterprises to exploit it

As Network World's Brandon Butler reported, PaaS appears to be folding into IaaS. I'm not sure that's news to anyone, but it's interesting that folks are starting to understand this situation.

At the heart of the issue is the fact that PaaS is today's most ill-defined area of cloud computing. The approaches, features, and definitions vary widely, with many PaaS providers offering a specific focus, which may include support for specific programming languages. Moreover, many PaaS providers are working with IaaS, or being purchased by IaaS, for the logical reason that IaaS needs a place to build applications and PaaS providers need infrastructure services to support their resulting applications. That begs the question: Where does PaaS play in the enterprise?

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"PaaS vendors have been sitting somewhat in the shadows. Research firm Gartner estimates that of the $131 billion cloud computing market, PaaS represents about 1 percent, whereas SaaS sits at 14.7 percent of the market and IaaS at 5.5 percent. Cloud-based business process services is the largest part of the market, at 28 percent," Network World reported.

However, a dark side of PaaS emerged last year: Some people consider PaaS too complicated and too limiting for most development efforts. Moreover, most IaaS providers also offer development tools -- good ones, at that. What is the best path and platform for application development for your enterprise? PaaS has some good points and some bad.

Here's the bad: Most PaaS offerings place the developer into a sandbox, providing only the PaaS provider's features and functions to build and deploy applications. Although this allows for an easy and controlled development process, many developers need to access other resources and tools to support specific features, such as remote and native APIs, as well as middleware and database services.

Here's the good: PaaS provides a standard unified platform for application development, testing, and deployment. Typically, there is built-in configuration management, including continuous integration and continuous development. The idea is that if everyone is building applications on a single platform, then development should be easier and faster. So far, most enterprises have yet to buy into this concept, much less accomplish it.

The fact of the matter is that PaaS is not dying, but it is changing. PaaS is indeed being combined with IaaS. It makes sense for PaaS capabilities to exist as part of an IaaS provider's platform because PaaS needs access to storage services, databases services, compute services, and so on. This is a good thing. PaaS is adjusting to the needs of the market.

This article, "PaaS isn't dying -- it's becoming part of IaaS," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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