The shifting sands of the cloud continuously redefine the way we use it. New technology is always being developed, consumer demands are constantly changing, and cloud providers frequently update their offerings to reflect the new market. It’s good to occasionally take stock to figure out where you stand in such a volatile industry so you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and lay out plans for the future. Well, the numbers are in. According to Gigaom, when compared to IaaS and SaaS, PaaS growth has been disproportionately slow. Does that mean it’s time to jump ship? Of course not!
Despite its seemingly slow growth, PaaS remains an essential part of any cloud strategy. I’ve frequently advocated for IaaS providers to improve their offerings by including PaaS, and we know IaaS providers can still sell more services with PaaS than without. In fact, many IaaS providers like Amazon Web Services are already offering some PaaS features. So PaaS’s slow growth doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. It is being taken as a given these days, and when it is being bundled with other services it could simply be mislabeled as being a part of IaaS. That’s not to say PaaS doesn’t have its problems. Many of these problems are with perception, however, and PaaS continues to rise to the challenge.
One thing that stuck out to me in the Linthicum article I linked to earlier was his claim that DevOps isn’t PaaS focused. Even if that is true, PaaS is certainly focused on DevOps. Progress® Pacific™, for example, uses a visual programming environment to make coding simpler. This is good for programming laymen and operations professionals who may have never developed applications themselves. If they are working in a PaaS that doesn’t require extensive programming knowledge, they don’t need to waste time in the long back-and-forth that occurs when hashing out design specifications for a separate development team. Operations specialists can quickly get their ideas “on paper” as a working app before handing it over to the devs. At the same time, these professionals will be learning more about the technical side of app development while developers are able to pull their heads out of the code and see the broader scope of the project. Development can therefore be refocused on what it’s really trying to do—solving business problems.
The threat of vendor lock-in has long hung over the tech industry, and while the world becomes more and more mobile and technology like smartphones become cheaper and more disposable, the threat only grows. Developers can’t afford be beholden to a single platform. To develop exclusively for Android or iOS is to ignore half of your potential audience. Apps need to work where the users want them to, so devs are more likely to avoid lock-in and favor a strategy that lets them put their product on every possible platform.
This aversion to lock-in carries over to the backend of application development, too. Just as developers don’t want to get locked into a single platform, they also don’t want to get locked in to a single cloud provider. If a PaaS only works with a specific IaaS, picking up a new provider means leaving your PaaS and all the apps developed on it behind. In that case, you would have been better off never having used the PaaS at all. Luckily, innovations like the Modulus™ platform have made this a non-issue as well. By leveraging open standards and prioritizing portability, you can have your PaaS and use it, too!
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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