Platform-as-a-Service: 6 Ways PaaS Will Change The Enterprise

Guest author Bart Copeland is CEO of ActiveState.

Jetpacks, flying cars, hybrid cloud. Which one will be ubiquitous in two years? Here’s a hint: It’s the one that doesn’t involve personal air travel.

In two years, the cloud-computing-enabled enterprise will have the enviable luxury to take much for granted, including accelerated time to market, seamless deployment, true polyglot coding and agile-as-you-want development.

And the technology that will enable that bright future? Here’s another hint: It starts with “private PaaS” or private Platform- as-a-Service. Think of private PaaS as cloud middleware for the enterprise — Platform-as-a-Service technology for on-premise service delivery behind a firewall, or an operating system for an enterprise private cloud.

Here are six ways private PaaS will change the enterprise cloud space by 2015:

1. Mobile apps will drive enterprise cloud and private PaaS adoption.

Two years from now, the biggest driver for cloud adoption won’t be traditional applications, it’ll be mobile apps. Disparate workforces already make Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) a cost of doing business for the enterprise: More types of enterprise work will require more types of mobile applications. And that will burden IT leaders mandated with managing the cloud. To retain control (and sanity), those IT leaders will embrace private PaaS technologies to provide integrated application management of mobile (and Web and cloud) applications.

2. Private clouds will dominate the enterprise market for now… but hybrids will win in the end.

Marketers spin idealized tales of cross-cloud hybrid love, with capacity-enabling bursts to the public cloud, easy multi-datacenter application administration, better security management, and redundancy/failover operational models abstracted from the developers and employees doing the actual work. It’s a great, achievable vision. But for most enterprises, that hybrid cloud vision is still two years away. Which is why they’re investing in private PaaS architectures now. Today’s enterprise cloud adopters see private cloud — and in particular, private PaaS technology — as the path to tomorrow’s hybrid cloud glory.

3. Smaller "public PaaS" players will dwindle as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) subsumes PaaS.

To differentiate themselves against commoditization, IaaS service providers will continue to incorporate PaaS technology into their infrastructure service offerings. Service breadth will expand, prices will fall and small business will embrace the low-cost public cloud. But those competitive pricing scenarios will challenge small standalone public PaaS providers as VC funds dry up and competitors either partner with or get absorbed into larger cloud-services corporations.

4. 2013 PaaS purchase criterion: deployment acceleration. 2015 PaaS purchase criteria: administrative control, true polyglot development, easy extensibility to Big Data.

In the PaaS world, 2013 will be the year of rapid application deployment: Enterprise private PaaS adopters will see their cloud application deployment cycles reduced from weeks or months to just minutes. In two years, cloud adopters will take that speed-to-market for granted. As a result, enterprise cloud adopters will evaluate private PaaS technology not just for how it accelerates workflow, but for how it impacts the bottom line. In 2015, private PaaS technologies will offer even easier administrative control, support for development in any language, seamless integration to corporate applications (particularly big-data databases), and hybrid cloud capabilities.

5. Beyond polyglot, "anyglot"" development will move apps forward in ways we can’t yet imagine.

In today’s cloud technology market, enterprise developers must often choose between their preferred development language and the development language dictated by their IaaS/PaaS solution. When infrastructure services (whether public or private) mandate development environment, it’s the coders who suffer, and they’re the ones who must adapt to the new world order. In some cases, that can mean learning new languages and recoding (or even dumping) legacy applications. But two years from now, we’ll look back on inconveniences like that and laugh. Envision truly polyglot cloud middleware. Applications developed in multiple languages. True cloud application portability. Both developers and cloud managers (DevOps) collaborating. Dogs and cats living together in harmony. Really.

6. Agile development will be so agile we’ll need a new name for it (“SuperAgile?”).

Tomorrow’s agility will make today’s agility look laughably slow. In 2015, we’ll enjoy polyglot application development and dynamic deployment. With those capabilities will come newfound agility… not just accelerated nimbleness for cat-herders, but flexibility: Developers can work in the (fast) way that’s right for them. More apps, better apps, delivered to market faster.

The future looks… um, bright.

 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.