Perhaps the surest sign that a major technology has made it past the hurdle of market acceptance is when the space floods with competitors, knock-offs, and ancillary support products. After all, we've discussed the initiatives that companies like Microsoft and Google have made in the Platform-as-a-Service industry but even they are not immune to big ideas that don't work out (anyone remember Google Wave?).
Watching the market grow around these behemoth organizations means that their technologies are being accepted and integrated into our basic frameworks. Just look at all the companies that have their own PaaS offerings these days.
IBM has been putting effort into its PaaS offering, known as IBM SmartCloud. This hybrid cloud platform can be run as a self-serviced private cloud or public managed cloud. Integrating with IBM's other cloud offerings, like the Cloudant Database, means that IBM's large roster of enterprise clients are migrating onto PaaS.
Cloud Foundry is the PaaS offering from industry leading virtualization provider VMware. This relatively recent addition to the PaaS marketplace, developed by ex-Google employees, leverages VMware's vSphere virtualization infrastructure to manage on-premises PaaS deployments. With such a broad user base for VMware virtualization products it's easy for organizations to on-ramp onto the Cloud Foundry product.
Cloud Foundry has the added benefit of being an open source software initiative. It's licensed under Apache 2.0, which means you can find companies like GE, Hewlett-Packard, and CenturyLink hosting Cloud Foundry-based PaaS initiatives. Even IBM offers a CloudFoundry based PaaS, known as BlueMix. PaaS is such a lucrative and important transition for the development world that companies are competing against themselves!
Speaking of open source, the Linux world is not safe from the takeover of PaaS either. Red Hat software, one of the premiere enterprise Linux providers, produces the also open source OpenShift software. OpenShift is coupled tightly with Git, the source code repository, allowing developers to easily push their into a scalable and production ready platform. A unique feature of OpenShift is that is uses RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) as its base and allows for the deployment of binary applications to the platform. This means that you can deploy from any code base or language that will compile for a RHEL system.
Really we could spend all night here. There's ServiceMix from the Apache Software Foundation, the incomprehensibly named webMethods AgileApps Cloud from Software AG, EngineYard, Jelastic, Cloudera, and just stop me when you've heard enough.
Platform-as-a-Service is not just for the big names in IT, but being developed and deployed by organizations in every niche and corner of the marketplace.
They say that, where there's smoke there's fire. Right now PaaS is smoking. Its wide range of acceptance indicating that the technology has matured to the point where it's an unavoidable part of the future of development. The only real question we should have at this point is: Which one do I choose?
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