Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Apache, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Reflections on the Future of Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service - an evolving landscape

Typical cloud computing conferences feature a large contingent of pay-to-pay sponsors who are looking primarily for ROI from marketing budgets at these shows. It is always refreshing to attend a sponsored event where speakers focus instead on energetic presentations and panel discussions aimed at gaining clarity on evolving topics. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is one aspect of cloud computing that is still evolving but maturing quickly. Deploycon 2013 was a good sponsored workshop (held in conjunction with the Cloud Connect conference) to set the tone on the future of PaaS.

With the skills shortage in cloud computing skills and an effort to improve developer productivity, vendors are in a race to reduce the complexity of deploying cloud enabled solutions. Abstracting the infrastructure to overcome major barriers of security and scalability while avoiding vendor lock-in is key to PaaS vendor success. Customers use different approaches to leveraging PaaS. Customers who have substantial investments in Salesforce users tend to utilize a Force.com solution that allows them to extend their CRM implementation. Vendors with a larger application development portfolio are more likely to use PaaS solutions that allow the choice of the underlying cloud infrastructure like CloudFoundry.

The PaaS market and solutions are divided into different categories to help customers develop cloud solutions:

  1. SaaS vendors enabling their users to leverage the existing cloud stack. One example is Force.com
  2. IaaS vendors building PaaS capabilities to complement and enhance their offerings. Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk is a good example.
  3. Specialty vendors addressing specific cloud issues like integration, database, testing & security. An example is SOASTA for testing.
  4. PaaS vendors developing open solutions to abstract multiple IaaS platforms. CloudFoundry & OpenShift are solutions in this category.

So far, large IT vendors have been lacking in a clear PaaS strategy. Due to the breath of their portfolios, products are needed in several of the categories above. The challenge for these vendors is to build coherent messaging able to convince customers to adopt PaaS as part of their IT frameworks. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce have built a comprehensive set of products to help customers embark on their cloud journeys.

Large customers using emerging technologies are hard to come by.  Financial institutions are generally slow to adopt bleeding technologies for multiple reasons, and risk avoidance plays a big role. It was refreshing to see Apprenda's case study outlining the JP Morgan Chase use of private PaaS in IT shops of large enterprises.  Some of the measures of success in the case study were:

  • 2000 applications hosted
  • 700% improvement in developer productivity
  • 70% increase in infrastructure utilizations
  • 50 days improvement in average application time to market

While there are many case studies floating around enterprise adoption of PaaS technologies, it is surprising to see a large enterprise like JP Morgan Chase adopt solutions from a small vendor like Apprenda to significantly improve the efficiency of their IT operations. While the case study does not specify the underlying hardware, infrastructure optimized for the cloud like HP's Moonshot or OpenCompute could be game changers for enterprises.

While Amazon is mostly known for its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capability, start-ups often use Amazon's PaaS capabilities in solutions. CoupSmart, a Cincinnati startup, leverages Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk to remove complexity from the scaling and monitoring of CoupSmart solutions. While Amazon's PaaS solution is good for start-ups, Amazon's challenge is to make the solution appealing for use by enterprises.

Workshops like Deploycon are a refreshing change as they offer attendees an opportunity to gain a clear understanding of an emerging disruptive technology. While the atmosphere inside the workshop hall was based on open discussions without vendor pitches, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to meet vendors outside for one-on-one discussions. My hope is for similar workshops to be held on other emerging technologies like Software Defined Networks.

OpenStack Summit is being held this week, bringing together a large contingent of worldwide supporters of this emerging cloud standard. I look forward to PaaS vendors coexisting with open standards like OpenStack to offer a value proposition that fundamentally changes the IT landscape in large enterprises.

This post was first published on Robustcloud.com. Republished with permission.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

Latest Stories
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, attendees learned about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
"Venafi has a platform that allows you to manage, centralize and automate the complete life cycle of keys and certificates within the organization," explained Gina Osmond, Sr. Field Marketing Manager at Venafi, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
"Coalfire is a cyber-risk, security and compliance assessment and advisory services firm. We do a lot of work with the cloud service provider community," explained Ryan McGowan, Vice President, Sales (West) at Coalfire Systems, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform innovator for agile business IT, has been recognized with the Customer Value Leadership Award for its nWorkSpace platform by Frost & Sullivan. The company was also featured in a new report(1) by the industry research firm titled, “Desktop-as-a-Service Buyer’s Guide, 2016,” which provides a comprehensive comparison of DaaS providers, including CloudJumper, Amazon, VMware, and Microsoft.
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...