Is The Cloud Platform Battle Over?
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User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2014 | 4:20:59 PM
Excellent article
Just wanted to let you know that we included you in our Monthly Resource Roundup
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2014 | 9:47:16 PM
Re: the real battle is ahead
Great insights. For those who don't know Khaz, he was one of the first employee's at Enomaly and helped launch our first IaaS platform back in 2005. 

RE: Battle. I don't think the battle is over. Even though people like Khaz and myself have been fighting it for almost 10 years, it's only just begun. The reality is the internet is the opperating system. The question is whether or not so called "enterprises" choose to embrace it. If they don't, they do so at their own detriment. 
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2014 | 12:38:18 AM
the real battle is ahead
PaaS is an intersection subset of IaaS and SaaS, targeting interests of both technical folks and business users. The barrier to entry is quite low for admins to transition a meaningful part of their IT assets or workloads to IaaS, because it doesn't require a lot of change and outcomes are immediately visible. Same thing with business users adoption of SaaS - the learning curve is quite steep and it's considered a part of revenue generation process. 

While it looks nice and dandy with IaaS and SaaS, the stakeholders for PaaS are not that numerous and influential in majority of companies. For more mature enterprise environments, with established ecosystem to handle hundreds of applications, PaaS is a natural choice, but the integration and transition are still a challenge, holding off mass adoption.

Less sophisticated IT environments are still cautious to dive deep and still use less risky ways to migrate workloads without significant modification and ability to rollback to previous (tried and tested) state if something goes wrong. I can understand that conservative approach of tech folks and reluctance of business decision makers to invest resources in something that doesn't expose its benefits for their business.

What should be done in order to preserve PaaS for future generations of IT?
  • vendors need to clarify differences of their "cloud platforms" from traditional definition; 
  • standardization bodies need to classify a galore of cloud platforms;
  • business users need better understanding on efficiencies of PaaS vs IaaS;
  • some IaaS vendors should not call themselves a PaaS, just because it sounds cool

Hope this helps.

User Rank: Strategist
1/16/2014 | 10:08:55 PM
PaaS an evolving story
Good observations, Joe, but I don't agree that you've formulated the right question either. Nor do I worry about whether PaaS is "winning" vs. IaaS or some other form of cloud computing. Rather, I see PaaS as remaining a distinct form of cloud and becoming the platform for next generation applications. Someone bringing either an application already developed or ideas for a traditional enterprise application to platform as a service -- well, yes, I can imagine the complaints and protests against arbitrary decisions made. But that doesn't mean PaaS won't evolve into a high level platform available for both development and deployment. I think Microsoft and Google understand this, and I think Amazon understands the value of the PaaS vendors that have been attracted to its IaaS. At multiple sites, PaaS is rapidly evolving, not fading from the scene.
User Rank: Ninja
1/15/2014 | 1:52:55 PM
Re: Poor PaaS, where is the love?
Actually, if you read PaaS forums (like Heroku, OpenShift, Azure), you'll see scores of customers who aren't able to fit their applications (often quite standard ones) into the arbitrary decisions that have been made by PaaS designers.  (To be fair, both Java and .NET PaaSes tend to do better because of the VMs they run on, but even still, you can see complaints about implementation).

I don't think the column here asks the right question.  The open question today is whether the PaaS model (Docker, OpenShift, Azure, Heroku, etc) will be the predominant one, or whether the configuration-management model (Chef, Puppet, Ansible, SaltStack, etc) will.  The benefits to the latter are that you don't run into implementation issues; you can implement whatever you want.  The benefits of the former are around simplicity.

Today, it's hard to argue that the PaaS side is winning.  The overwhelming adoption of Chef by essentially everyone (AWS's OpsWorks, CMPs like RightScale, even Netflix OSS) combined with the relative silence from the startup community on using PaaS (who exactly uses it?  RapGenius used to... single digits of well-known companies, right?) indicates to me that the future isn't PaaS merging into IaaS, but rather IaaS with a configuration management layer (which I guess you could call PaaS, but certainly isn't considered PaaS by any PaaS vendor I know).

The enterprise side is more in the PaaS world, but it's really hard to tell how much, given that they don't do much sharing.  But even there, from anecdotal evidence, I believe config mgmt is winning.
User Rank: Strategist
1/15/2014 | 12:56:31 PM
PaaS is 'irrelevant' but Red Hat, VMware, Google,didn't get memo
If PaaS is to about to become irrelevant, Microsoft, Google, Red Hat and VMware have all failed to get the memo. They are heavily invested in producing a better PaaS, with VMware and Red Hat seeing PaaS as one of their few direct avenues into the cloud. Get developers to use your PaaS and then make it easy to deploy from it to your preferred public cloud platform. I would submit that first generation PaaS is being absorbed into IaaS. But Red Hat, VMware, Google and Microsoft understand very well that a second generation PaaS, working at a higher level of application composition and deployment, is being born. Check out our next contributor on PaaS, Red Hat's Krishnan Subramanian, soon to appear in the InformationWeek Cloud section. He says "PaaS is dead. Long live PaaS!"
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2014 | 12:28:39 PM
JumpCloud correction
Just a small correction here... "Startups like JumpCloud are bypassing the need for virtualization, instead opting for bare-metal hardware deployment."

Actually, JumpCloud is really designed first and foremost to support the cloud, but can be used seamlessly with bare-metal hardware. To use JumpCloud, you just install our agent with a one-line command, or easily integrate the agent installation with your configuration tool (like Chef, Puppet, etc.).
User Rank: Ninja
1/15/2014 | 11:34:02 AM
Poor PaaS, where is the love?
This raises a good point. I think the initial love for IaaS is that it was one of the earliest traditional cloud services offered.  Providers rented out server space for customers to build their own environments.  Ofcourse, as the cloud model matured, many IT professionals realized that all they were doing was configuring O/S builds, which could be done for them with a traditional PaaS service, saving them time and effort.  It's much like buying a barebones computer and doing everything yourself, but if you are just installing a standard O/S, why not buy a pre-built with the O/S already installed?

I think everyone overestimated the requirement for custom environments and are now seeing that across the board there are a lot of similar requirements for cloud.  If this is the case, why not leverage a PaaS service which already has some security and configuration in place instead of starting from scratch with IaaS?

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