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Portability as a Service

Portability as a Service

June 20, 2014 0 Comments

Last week, I talked a bit about how telco service providers could use a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model to sweeten the deal when it comes to their cloud offerings. Looking at things from the other side, however, I can see why what I am arguing for could be a scary thing for a lot of buyers.

A service provider that is offering a truly robust experience is great, but what if their clients want a change? For example, the development platform their cloud provider is offering might be great, but the infrastructure behind it is lacking. They wouldn’t want to lose functionality when they change providers, and they certainly wouldn’t want to leave their applications behind.

Don’t get locked-in

Vendor lock-in is a real problem in a lot of technology sectors. For example, people who own iPhones are likely to use iTunes to manage their music collections and Macintosh computers for the ease of connectivity that they offer with iOS devices. By that point, users are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, and switching to, for example, an Android device would mean giving up their extensive music and app collection. That’s enough to scare most users away from the idea.

There is a similar threat to enterprises who build their applications and databases on a specific cloud infrastructure. The cost of moving all of that to a new, incompatible cloud would be too great, even if that new infrastructure offers a far better deal.

Losing my cloud religion

The answer to this lock-in problem is to move toward becoming “cloud agnostic.” That is, to develop applications and databases that are portable and do not rely on any one infrastructure. As a recent article on Gigaom points out, however, this isn’t always an easy task. Still, it is very doable, and a smart development team with the right strategy should have very few problems migrating to any cloud, be it public, private, or a hybrid of the two.

A portable platform

I am most concerned with the use of abstraction. For many enterprises, abstraction is more attractive than relying on standards which must be implemented on the cloud provider’s side or containers which can get unwieldy and are better suited for technical users. A typical PaaS also includes features that go above and beyond the simple abstraction of the infrastructure on which they are built.

In the case of Progress® Pacific™, our PaaS offering, this includes a development platform, data integration and communication tools. Perhaps the best feature, however, is the ability for subscribers to host the platform on the infrastructure of their choosing. That means that vendor lock-in becomes a non-issue, and you can be sure that your applications and data will be safe wherever you move them.

What’s your take? Please let me know in the comments.

Paul Nashawaty

As the senior director of product marketing and strategy for the Progress solutions and audience marketing team, Paul Nashawaty keeps his eyes peeled on what enterprises are doing about big data as it relates to digital transformation. Paul is responsible for applying practical business methodologies using technological solutions to drive success in organizations.

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