The blurring of the lines between these services may make it tricky for customers to choose which platform is best for them, but Forrester says the key criteria that should be considered are the types of developers within your company and the robustness of the partner network of the vendor.
There are three types of PaaS users, Forrester says: A DevOps pro, is someone who is a familiar coder, who also wants control of the infrastructure the applications run on; a coder cares only about the application development process and does not want to deal with configuring the infrastructure; and finally a rapid developer may not have coding experience, and is looking for an easy extension from an IaaS or SaaS platform.
Different vendors in the PaaS market serve these different segments, Forrester found. AWS is a market leader for DevOps pros and coders because the infrastructure setup is so tightly coupled with the application development. Salesforce.com, on the other hand, is good for rapid developers who may not have coding experience.
Other vendors in the market include CloudBees, Cordys, Mendix and MioSoft which Forrester says are strong platforms for rapid developers while IBM, Google, Engine Yard and Rackspace are well-suited for DevOps pros. Forrester focused its study on public PaaS offerings, so it excluded private PaaS vendors.
A second major consideration is the robustness of the partner networks for the PaaS offering, Forrester says. Third-party vendors offer development tools, databases and support that integrate with a PaaS offering and can be a customer's best friend. "A large ecosystem dramatically improves the customer's ability to deliver applications, find support for key components, supplement staff with consultants, and empower management of its cloud applications," Forrester says. In naming AWS, Microsoft and Salesforce.com as leaders in the public PaaS market, Forrester noted their strong partner networks.
PaaS could be an important market for businesses moving forward though. Forrester estimates that this year 30% of enterprises will use some form of public cloud computing offering. "Public cloud platforms empower (application development and delivery) pros with frameworks, tools, and consoles that speed creation, deployment, and ongoing updates," Forrester says. "Select the right platform and AD&D pros will be highly productive."
Network World senior writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.