While interest in platform as a service (PaaS) continues to rise, more than a few IT organizations are flummoxed by the whole process of getting to PaaS.
If you're a commercial developer, your company typically has a lot of processes in place that govern the way software is developed. On the other end of the spectrum is an army of independent developers who don't really have to answer to anyone but themselves.
Then there is the typical corporation that has a lot of interest in the PaaS concept, but there is no real process in place that would guide them through the onboarding process to the cloud. According to ActiveState CEO Bart Copeland, this onboarding issue is really an extension of the current DevOps debate that is pitting agile application developers against IT operations teams. The way to address it, says Copeland, is to make it easier for enterprises to bring their existing processes for developing applications to the cloud.
ActiveState recently released Stackato 1.0, a PaaS environment based on Cloud Foundry that not only supports any application development language an organization wants to use, but also the creation of "microclouds" that allow developers to work locally on a workstation before uploading that project to the PaaS environment in the cloud. That's accomplished says Copeland, because Stackato is based on a virtual machine appliance that can be deployed in the cloud or locally. That virtual machine appliance can be download from ActiveState for use on any cloud or customers may choose to work with a version that ActiveState created for the Amazon EC2 public cloud.
That's significant, says Copeland, because it allows IT organizations to essentially use the same application development processes they have in place both locally and inside a new PaaS environment. Most organizations today are also unsure if they will develop applications internally and then deploy them on the cloud, develop applications in the cloud and deploy them internally, or employ some combination of hybrid cloud computing. Keeping their options open at this point is pretty critical, especially when you consider there are many ways IT organizations could easily find themselves locked into a specific PaaS platform without even realizing it.