State Of The Platform As A Service Market, A Discussion For Deploycon

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The spring tech tour continues next week in Santa Clara with Deploycon, and I will be there to discuss the spectrum of PaaS providers and how they play across this broad, malleable and often manipulated sector of the market.

It has become apparent that the platform as a service (PaaS) market has reached a pivot point. I have written about two companies that have pivoted in recent weeks, and we should expect the transformation to continue as the forces build apps faster with ever more data.

It’s also evidence of a greater shift in the market to more standard ways to build apps and APIs. Developers often build out apps that require multiple APIs to connect. Data has to be accessed, signaling a greater need to develop a linking structure and visual way to see updates and interactions in the lifecycle process.

For context, I thought it would make sense to look at Krishnan Subramanian’s spectrum of the PaaS market and where the market players fit.

paaspectrum

At every space on the spectrum is some level of abstraction. On the far left, business users get a high degree of abstraction but primarily so they can focus on creating apps out of custom processes, tasks and other business functions. Coding is not a requirement. Everything except making the connectors is done on the backend. Force.com and OrangeScape are the two most noticeable players while companies such as workXpress also compete in this market.

The further you get to the center, the abstraction comes with creating more sophisticated apps by having some control over the infrastructure. For example, Subramanian said use cases could be some big data applications or some real-time processing based on various performance parameters. It is about offering different choices. Cloudbees, Heroku, Appfog, and Google App Engine play in this space.

With private PaaS, the difference is choice. The developer can have a granular level of control but not necessarily have to worry about middleware or finely tuning the infrastructure. Extensible architectures give developers a way to scale if need be. Cloudfoundry.com, Cumulogic, Apprenda, OpenShift, Uhuru, ActiveState and Iron Foundry (Tier 3) are companies in this space.

PaaS players further to the right give developers the capability to do continuous development and provide access to the infrastructure but not worry about backend operations. These platforms also offer open-source plugins and other advanced features.

DevOps PaaS simplifies the “assembly” of services, providing capsules of sorts that allow the developer to custom build apps and push them into different types of infrastructure. Cloudify and Cloudsoft are the primary players at this place in the spectrum.

DevOps tools don’t offer much compared to Cloudify or Cloudsoft but do allow for more abstraction than IaaS providers at the extreme right of the spectrum. Are they even PaaS at all? That’s up for debate. DevOps providers include: Rightscale, Puppet Labs, Opscode, Enstratius and Scalr.

Evident is the deep, cross-use of these different services. They overlap but also have any imaginable use case. But where is the market for these different services? That’s the big question to discuss when in Santa Clara next week. Here’s a link to register for the event. Use the code DCCOMP16 to get in free.