Intro to Cloud Series – What is Platform as a Service?

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There are three common cloud delivery models in the industry today with IaaS and SaaS being the most common. This blog focuses on the platform as a service (PaaS) model and the anticipated disruption it will create in the market. I previously wrote a PaaS overview blog with more details on the technology here.

PaaS is defined “as a category of cloud computing services that provide a computing platform and a solution stack as a service” (Wikipedia). These platforms focus on application development without requiring the developers to focus on the underlying stack implementation in the cloud. For example, application deployment and development no longer focus on the underlying virtual machines or networks in the cloud as the PaaS platform manages those cloud features for the application.

This cloud service is still in its early days with various vendors and startups (proprietary and open source) working to establish a position in the market. As IaaS still suffers from no industry standard API, PaaS is even further behind in creating an industry standard thus many customers are waiting for a leader to emerge.

As for disruption, this service will substantially change the game for application developers writing code for the cloud. No longer will VMs and hypervisors matter to application developers; instead, developers can simply leverage APIs to write their applications to a cloud. This subtle change from operating system to cloud APIs for developers will slam the door on going back to the pre-cloud era.  In fact, one wonders what the impact on the various IaaS cloud competitors will be as PaaS vendors create versions of their solutions to run on any type of cloud. As you see, the cloud disruption will again be disrupted.

Don’t just take my word for it, here is Krishnan Subramanian, Founder Rishidot Research and leading cloud analyst:

“The services based future of IT requires an agile IT. The agility for building these IT services derives from higher order abstractions that drastically improve developer productivity. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is meant to deliver the kind of abstractions modern developers need and meet their needs by providing robust APIs. PaaS is going to be the OS for the services world and APIs are going to be the lingua franca in this world.”

Dell is currently working on a preview solution using the Cloud Foundry PaaS solution and is looking for technologists to join us in creating a future PaaS product. Project Fast PaaS is available here for your consideration.

About the Author: Stephen Spector

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