Passing on PaaS Predictions

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Application Acceleration in the Clouds

Acceleration technologies can dramatically improve the performance of emerging cloud, SaaS and other Internet-based content and applications.

Whether the concept of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) stands the test of time as a distinct cloud computing service apart from infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) still remains to be seen.

But one thing that is for certain is the first generation of PaaS platforms are already going through a rapid maturation cycle. For example, Heroku, a unit of, recently added Java support to a PaaS offering that already supported Ruby on Rails, Clojure and Node.js programming languages.

The reason for this is that IT organizations don't want to have to strike deals with different PaaS providers for every language they need to use, especially when you consider the simple fact that composite enterprise applications of the future are going to be built using multiple languages.

According to Bill Lapcevic, vice president of business development at New Relic, which just announced that its namesake application performance management (APM) service now supports Java on Heroku for free, the level of programming language diversity that will soon characterize enterprise applications will put a lot pressure on IT organizations to find tools that can manage applications both inside and outside the walls of the traditional enterprise. This is one of the primary reasons that New Relic is pursuing a software-as-service (SaaS) approach to APM.

What all this means is that PaaS platforms that are optimized for one particular approach to application development are by definition going to be self-limiting. There's clearly no doubt that PaaS in one form or another is going to play a big role in the future of application development. The only question now is how to make that happen without locking your IT organization into a particular platform at a time when the development of new programming languages has never been more dynamic.

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