In the name of customer service, most platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings have included any number of tools for managing the application development process. In theory, that's a good thing because applications don't build themselves, after all.
But the downside of all that customer service hospitality is that it tends to lock customers into one PaaS environment. What's going to be required to ensure that customers have the freedom to move from one PaaS platform to another, says Guy Marion, vice president and general manager for cloud services at CollabNet, a provider of application lifecycle management (ALM) tools, is an application management service that makes it possible for companies to deploy any application on the PaaS platform of their choosing.
To provide that capability, CollabNet today launched CloudForge, a new development-as-a-service platform that gives developers access to multiple development tools that allow them to create applications that with a single click can be deployed to public PaaS environments or private data centers.
As PaaS platforms quickly mature, IT organizations are starting to factor these new cloud services into their IT strategies. The rate at which the move to these platforms will be made still remains to be seen. But it's clear that IT organizations don't want to get locked into a particular PaaS platform when no one is sure what providers will ultimately survive and in what form.
In addition, IT organizations are likely going to want to move some applications not only from one PaaS provider to another, but also to a private PaaS platform being managed by the IT department.
Marion says that in the rush to PaaS, many vendors and customers alike are forgetting about how important freedom of PaaS choice is going to be in a hybrid cloud computing world.
There's no doubt that PaaS represents a significant new addition to the IT arsenal of weapons. But like most shiny new things, it can cut both ways unless IT organizations lay down some ground rules for learning how to safely use those tools.