The Hidden Dangers of PaaS

Michael Vizard
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7 Guiding Principles for Selecting Integration-friendly Application Partners

Key factors you should consider when selecting a SaaS vendor.

When most folks talk about cloud computing, they tend to break things up into three distinct categories: software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

As things stand right now, two out of three of those services are ready for prime time, while PaaS still leaves much to be desired.

In fact, Bruce Guptill, head of research for Saugatuck Technology, an IT consulting firm, says that it will take at least several more years for PaaS platforms to mature to the point where enterprise IT organizations can really consider them an option. In the meantime, commercial ISVs are likely to leverage PaaS because in their rush to become SaaS vendors, they are more likely to adjust their internal processes to make up for the lack of management tools that generally plague PaaS environments today.

The other issue with PaaS, of course, is that most of the offerings in the market today are built around proprietary environments. However, OutSystems, a provider of application lifecycle management (ALM) tools that are optimized for agile development environments, is trying to address that issue with version 6.0 of its namesake ALM environment, which OutSystems is making available as a PaaS service. According to Mike Jones, vice president of worldwide marketing for OutSystems, version 6.0 of the OutSystems ALM supports just about any environment that developers care to use, which is an approach that VMware is promising to take as well.

Jones says that a lot of IT organizations will rue the day they signed up for proprietary PaaS platforms that basically locked them into a particular development environment, especially in an age of borderless applications that usually consist of multiple modules written in different languages.

It will probably still take some time before we see mainstream adoption of PaaS. But as OutSystems points out, the smarter thing to do when it comes to PaaS is start with the ALM framework first because without it, all the other benefits of PaaS will never really materialize.

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