Cloud computing in its current manifestation could be relatively young but we must admit that it has been around for years in its less fancy avatar. Cloud computing gained momentum on the back of SaaS once all the mainstream product vendors including the ERP biggies such as Oracle and SAP started offering their application stack on a subscription model. Platform as a Service (PaaS) on the other hand started gaining currency in the recent past riding on the coattails of SaaS popularity. Many analysts are predicting that PaaS will grow at a very fast pace and by some estimates the overall PaaS market by 2019 will be around $35Bn
PaaS is now an essential ingredient in most major enterprise cloud journey stories. Initially, vendors had bits and pieces of the development platform on cloud but today most of the leading vendors have stitched together a more comprehensive offering on platform that assures developers of a mature cloud platform for their development tasks. PaaS in essence provides a development platform in the cloud without one being bothered about the usual associated hassles such as installing and managing the underlying infrastructure.
Today, developers can focus their time on their core competency - coding and building applications as opposed to pre-cloud days when a significant portion of their time was also spent on non-core activities such as installing and configuring. Highly elastic and scalable nature of cloud has not only accelerated development but also influenced changes in design considerations for applications. A focused approach by development community towards developing and deploying their applications at a much faster pace has brought DevOps into limelight in the cloud arena. Quick execution of cloud projects has led to a more agile model. PaaS inherently supports DevOps automation by providing hooks into various DevOps tools. Some of the leading vendors like Oracle today have a comprehensive PaaS offering providing platform for application development, integration, reporting and analytics, Mobility, IoT etc. apart from supporting open source DevOps tools such as GitHub, Jenkins, and Maven etc.
While PaaS is becoming a de-facto component in all large SaaS deals as the preferred development platform, we are also seeing a trend where organizations are adopting PaaS as a first step towards their larger cloud programs encompassing everything from IaaS to SaaS - this is a start from the middle approach to cloud adoption wherein organizations are moving their core development platform to PaaS and then subsequently move their infrastructure to cloud and finally adopting SaaS. PaaS is becoming a key enabler for digital transformation by disrupting the traditional business models and helping provide an agile business model that is aligned to today's modern market dynamics.
While I have waxed eloquently about how PaaS is helping the developer community focus on their core competency of building apps, changing design considerations, achieve quicker time to market, usher in digital transformation; we should also be cognizant of the fact that PaaS adoption is yet to take off in a big way. One of the key value propositions of PaaS, like any other cloud layer, is the tangible return on investment and the reduced total cost of ownership. With wider adoption of PaaS there will be more proof points that demonstrate PaaS' value proposition to enterprises. It is evident that PaaS as a development platform is gaining traction and it is vital that businesses embark on this cloud journey today to stay competitive and be able to better serve their end customers.