One of the primary reasons that platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings are finding it hard to gain traction in the enterprise is that internal IT organizations don’t feel like they have any visibility into or control over these IT resources. Developers may be thrilled that they can get access to IT infrastructure resources on demand, but IT leaders have a host of governance concerns that are not yet being addressed by most PaaS providers.
To address that specific issue, AppFog recently joined the growing number of PaaS providers that are moving to make on-premise editions of their PaaS environments available as a private cloud. Currently in beta, AppFog CEO Lucas Carlson says the basic idea is to make PaaS more palatable to enterprise IT organizations by giving them the ability to quickly develop applications without having to sacrifice control. In that way, Carlson says that developers can still get quick access to the resources they need, while the IT organization makes sure all the checks and balances that corporations are required to adhere to actually get addressed.
Of course, the on-premise version of AppFog can be tightly integrated with the PaaS offering that AppFog manages as a cloud service. That gives IT organizations the option of leveraging those resources during, for example, the application testing process. In fact, for all the talk about Shadow IT these days, Carslon says even the most ardent developers would concede that IT development without some input from internal IT is largely unsustainable.
Slowly, but surely, IT organizations will move toward PaaS technologies. From an on-premise perspective, PaaS technologies provide a more robust development environment than your average application server. In the cloud, they provide a service that not only includes the IT infrastructure required, but also all the middleware needed to actually develop and run an application.
The challenge going forward is figuring out exactly where the middle ground lies between existing IT processes and practices and the all or nothing propositions currently being put forward by the leading PaaS providers.