will be built on network services. This is already happening.
pole in the tent is the evolution of the mindset of enterprise IT and of ISVs,"
Kerpan said. " This is a generational thing and can't be hurried."
appear to be buying in. Charles Teague, CEO of Lose It!, maker of a top-selling
iPhone weight-loss application, said, "The CloudBees PAAS makes it
straightforward for Lose It! to run a high-volume, data-intense Website
handling 15,000 reads per minute with very little operational overhead. Their
technology and service has allowed us to focus on creating the best product we
whose Windows Azure cloud-computing platform offers elements of IAAS, SAAS and
PAAS, also has its appeal to users.
"For a very
small investment, we can try a new project and see if it works, close it down
tomorrow or ramp it up immediately," said Eugene Shustef, chief engineer of
Global Document Outsources at Xerox. "The Windows Azure platform enables us to
do that; cloud computing lowers the barrier to innovation."
Microsoft technology, Xerox built Xerox Cloud Print, a cloud-based printing
service that allows users to route a printing job to any available public
printer directly from their mobile devices. Now, when employees are traveling
on business, they can do things like quickly printing a presentation for
tomorrow's client meeting. By running Windows Azure and SQL Azure, developers
were able to build Xerox Cloud Print in just four months, Xerox officials said.
"This is the
big advantage to developers," MuleSoft's Mason said. "With PAAS, they can now
spin up their newest applications in minutes without going through the usual
rigmarole of installing database, application runtime and other third-party
software, before writing a line of code. A PAAS also means that patches and
upgrades are managed by the PAAS provider, freeing the developer to just think
about one thing-their app."
vice president and general manager for software products at HP, explained: On
one hand, it's the Holy Grail of application development-"just code away and
the platform will automatically handle scalability, availability, provisioning,
upgrades, monitoring, etc. Conversely, there is no free lunch, so developers
who think they can just forget about the --ilities' in their design may be
creating an even tougher-to-manage application than previously possible."
CEO Leo Apotheker recently cited PAAS as a direction HP will soon take.
Initially, HP will offer tools supporting PAAS development.
of the developer building code in a specific language and packaging it for deployment
to a specific platform-for instance, an EAR (enterprise archive) or WAR (Web
application archive) file for a J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition)
container. The platform (i.e., the J2EE container) provides a "contract" about
how applications can use the facilities of the platforms (e.g., security,
transactional integrity or management), and these facilities are made available
at the time of deployment when the application "binds" to them, Purohit said.
For PAAS, the same type of contract is going to be required even if PAAS
vendors offer language-agnostic platforms. That way, applications can bind to
facilities in the platforms that are common to the applications (even if
configured differently for the application).
all the benefits of PAAS, are there any drawbacks? For instance, is lock-in a
"There is a
strong danger of lock-in with most PAAS offerings," Che said. "To avoid
lock-in, you must be able to write your app in the framework/language of your
choice and deploy on the cloud of your choice. If you can only write to a
proprietary API that is only available in one PAAS, you can never move your app
somewhere else since those APIs don't exist elsewhere. Furthermore, you can't
bring existing apps into that PAAS since they weren't written for those
provides partners and customers the choice and flexibility to leverage the
infrastructure they already have in place so they can utilize their existing
skills and extend their investments to the cloud," Ketkar said. "As part of
this, we've embraced support for open standards and other development
environments as a platform principle. This includes support for Java, PHP, Ruby
and Python, as well as the same standard protocols that advanced the Web, including
HTTP, XML, REST and SOAP."
"The level of
lock-in will depend on the language/environment being run, the database hosting
the data, etc.," Labourey said. "When leveraging a Java PAAS storing its state
in a well-known database, the lock-in is typically very weak as it is
relatively easy to replicate a compatible environment in-house. However, a PAAS
using its own language and storage mechanism (such as Salesforce.com's own
proprietary language and database) will generate a pretty extensive lock-in.
But this is similar to a company using something like PowerBuilder for its
Mestrallet added, "The vendor locking risk is at the IAAS and SAAS layers. With
PAAS, vendors try to attract developers. Whatever the language they use
to code, those developers work with open frameworks that PAAS vendors support.
If we look at the Java PAAS market, all vendors offer a standard way to deploy
Java applications (WARs), and unless the developer is using a dedicated API for
storage or caching (which they do not have to in existing PAAS), the
applications are portable from one PAAS to another."
What's important to keep in mind when developing for PAAS?
a checklist or set of rules that every budding developer contemplating an
application-development career or an entrenched one refreshing an existing
application development career in the face of the cloud should adhere to:
is no metal.
is where you are.
and event-oriented behavior are everything for your application.
transactions will be part of everything, not an exception.
and functions that appear across a range of devices (including desktops,
kiosks, tablets and smartphones) are collectively THE user interface to
your application, not different user interfaces.
that abstract multiple PAAS platforms (which would be things like Spring
will do and Rails will do) might be the place to focus effort.
give up your day job; it will take longer than you think.
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.