With interest in platform as a service on the rise, what must developers look for to ensure that they are making the right moves and not falling into traps of previous generations of technology?
When it comes
to the alphabet soup of cloud computing, at least one vendor is staying above
the fray. Amazon Web Services, whose offerings include IAAS, PAAS and SAAS
(infrastructure, platform and software as a service), is intent on not being
grouped under any particular label.
spend any time talking about the acronyms," Andy Jassy, senior vice president
of AWS, told eWEEK. "All those lines will get blurred over time. It's a
construct to box people in and it fits some stack paradigm. We started with raw
storage, raw compute, and raw database in SimpleDB. And we've added load
balancing, a relational database, Hadoop and Elastic Map reduce, a management
GUI... All those lines start to get blurred, and you can expect to see additional
abstraction from us."
Services' objections aside, the January release of the company's Elastic Beanstalk
service offers an excellent example of PAAS, versus IAAS: Developers upload
their Java applications into the Elastic Beanstalk service, and Amazon handles
all the capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling and
application-health-monitoring details. The PAAS service taps lower-level AWS
services to do the work, with compute power provided by Amazon's Elastic
Compute Cloud, an archetypal IAAS offering.
If you mapped
an existing IT organization to the new world of the cloud, your IT operations
team would be the IAAS layer, the standard applications (email, social, office,
ERP, CRM, etc.) would be available as SAAS, and the custom applications would
run on a PAAS, Sacha Labourey, CEO and founder of Java PAAS player CloudBees,
told eWEEK. So all three of them are really important as companies move toward
the cloud, he said.
CTO and founder of MuleSoft, which offers an iPAAS (integration platform as a
service) solution, said, "SAAS changes the way we acquire applications, IAAS
changes the way we deploy and consume infrastructure and PAAS changes the way
we build applications. Platform is the magic word; it creates a development
platform for building software in the cloud. It's important to understand that,
like enterprise software platforms, the PAAS universe is evolving to serve
various development communities, e.g., languages, as well as serve different
Bob Bickel, an
advisor at CloudBees and chairman at eXo, said, "PAAS is for developers what
virtualization was for system administrators. Virtualization let sys admins
forget about the underlying servers and to really share resources a lot more
effectively. PAAS will be the same, and in a long-term vision really supplants
lower layers like OS and virtualization as being the key platform custom apps
and SAAS are deployed on."
Kerpan, president, CTO and co-founder of CohesiveFT, a maker of onboarding
solutions for cloud computing, told eWEEK: "The significance of PAAS will be
the transition from OS-based features to network-based features, that take
advantage of growing customer acceptance of the idea and the fact that their
information assets (their -stuff') is -out there somewhere' and the increasing
ability of PAAS (and applications built on top of it) to seem more local,
controlled and secure."
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.