A lot has been written about the reluctance of many to use the cloud for their mission critical applications, and in particular, the enterprise. While this may be a popular topic from the perspective of many, the Cloud is most certainly seeing a significant increase in adoption as more and more companies build their SaaS offerings on platforms from Amazon, Google, Force.com and Microsoft.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is defined in Wikipedia as “the delivery of a computing platform and solution stack as a service. It facilitates deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers, providing all of the facilities required to support the complete life cycle of building and delivering web applications and services entirely available from the Internet–with no software downloads or installation for developers, IT managers or end-users. It’s also known as cloudware.”
In general, PaaS offerings include workflow facilities for application design, application development, testing, deployment and hosting as well as application services such as team collaboration, web service integration and marshalling, database integration, security, scalability, storage, persistence, state management, application versioning, application instrumentation and developer community facilitation. These services are provisioned as an integrated solution over the web.
We just saw another Cloud validation as three established ISVs announced offerings on platfoms from PaaS providers.
Both BMC Software and CA announced their intent to offer apps built on Force.com next year. Quest Software also announced the launch of its first set of Software as a Service (SaaS) Windows management solutions on Microsoft Azure.
Note also the following examples of SaaS services built on AWS, Google AppEngine and Force.com. This “explosion of entrepreneurship” further the case that platform-as-a-service is rapidly gaining acceptance in the market.
What we are witnessing is a boom in platform-based businesses, made possible by the cloud model: pay-per-use, instant scalability, and the elimination of up-front capex costs.