Is platform-as-a-service ready to leave the station?

To date, cloud computing has been dominated by big e-mail and infrastructure providers selling commodity services. As a result, infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service have gotten most of the attention.

Platform-as-a-service could be next. Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel has identified PaaS as “the next major value set for federal cloud computing, and it also aligns closely with his Shared Services initiative to knock down stovepipe software and save money,” said Kevin Jackson, general manager of NJVC cloud services and a co-author of the white paper "Platform as a Service (PaaS). What Is It? Why Is It So Important?"

The paper attempts to clarify some of the confusion around PaaS for federal IT buyers.


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Platform-as-a-service is next cloud wave, but what is it exactly?


If the first wave of cloud computing was about data center consolidation, the second wave — the consolidation of applications — will have the greater impact on business and organizations, industry observers say. And this is where platform as a service plays a pivotal role.

The PaaS model provides developers with easier ways to create and deploy software on cloud infrastructures. PaaS makes it easier to create and implement software by enabling the consumer to deploy onto cloud infrastructures consumer-created or -acquired applications built with programming languages and tools supported by the cloud provider.

“As Gartner predicted last year in the report "PaaS Road Map: A Continent Emerging," the broad vendor adoption in 2011 amounted to a sound industry endorsement of PaaS as an alternative to the traditional middleware deployment models,” Nathan Eddy writes in an article in eWeek.com.

"With large and growing vendor investment in PaaS, the market is on the cusp of several years of strategic growth, leading to innovation and likely breakthroughs in technology and business use of all of cloud computing," Yefim Natis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in Eddy’s eWeek.com article.

By 2016, competition among PaaS vendors will produce new programming models, new standards and new software market leaders, Eddy writes.

Organizations should view the three main areas of cloud services — infrastructure, platform and software — as a holistic set of solutions that when blended together can deliver coherent and agile service to businesses, Julian Box, co-founder of Calligo, a cloud computing specialist based in the Channel Islands, wrote in a recent blog.

“Platform as a service is the newest of the main cloud offerings, but many believe it has the capabilities to have the biggest impact on business use of the cloud. It has several benefits; speed of development and deployment are well documented, but [that is] not the only benefit,” Box wrote.

“PaaS has the ability to accelerate and reduce the amount of stages a process comprises through the innovative use of workflow and automation tools. All of which can be then be delivered as an internal SaaS model,” Box added.

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service-provider interaction.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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