Public PaaSBy Guy Currier Print
Baseline’s latest research report reveals the two undervalued, but essential, elements of a winning cloud computing strategy.
If taking full advantage of the cloud model means picking and choosing the best features and platforms for your needs, then it’s clear that to succeed with a cloud strategy, you must focus on integration. Thus, the most thought-provoking trend uncovered by our research is the coming rise of public cloud PaaS, representing the second essential-but-unknown success factor for cloud strategies.
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As noted above, PaaS offerings are basically development platforms where the applications created run in the cloud (public or private). Typically, we’d think what’s being developed is an end-user application of some kind: a Website, inventory checker, manufacturing modeler, etc. Up to now, most use of PaaS has been along these lines.
INTEGRATION IS A CRITICAL ISSUE
But what if you use PaaS to create cloud-based middleware—an application that binds standards-compliant applications together? Now you have a solution to the cloud computing problem of integrating all those best-of-breed functions from disparate sources, and you can build the kinds of custom, high-performance applications usually associated with single-source solutions. This is such an attractive approach that many vendors provide an integration-as-a-service offering.
“Integration becomes a critical issue because it isn’t necessarily the focus up front,” says Julie Smith David, associate professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, and director of its Center for Advancing Business Through IT. David co-authored, along with Michael Lee, assistant
professor at Arizona State, “SaaS, IaaS and PaaS: Realities and Emerging Integration Issues,” a report released by the Society for Information Management’s Advanced Practices Council. “We’re thinking of PaaS vendors as giving the user the single-source experience, but with access to a world of developers.”
Based on our survey, organizations are recognizing this. Out of all the flavors of cloud computing we reviewed, PaaS shows a strong interest level over the next year, second only to private SaaS.
Cloud initiatives tend to start with deployment of a single public cloud application. This is usually SaaS, but for businesses founded on data storage and delivery, it might well be storage or computing clouds—popularly called infrastructure as a service (IaaS)—that lead the way.
Dubset, a New York-based provider of Internet radio entertainment content, began using Rackspace Cloud Servers and Cloud Files in October 2010. “The Rackspace Cloud allows us to stream music while accurately tracking what gets played,” says Dave Stein, founder and CEO. “We are continuing to evaluate cloud computing options, to not only create innovative services for our customers, but also to scale to meet the demands of our customer base.”
It’s clear, then, that as you go beyond your first cloud application to build complete cloud strategies, you need to focus on these two keys: service-level diligence and integration. These elements will allow you not just to speed your organization with the cloud, but also to speed it through the cloud. "
Guy Currier is the executive director of research at Ziff Davis Enterprise. Bob Violino, a freelance journalist, contributed to this article.
How We Conducted the Research
Ziff Davis Enterprise Research, a division of Baseline’s corporate parent Ziff Davis Enterprise, fielded the cloud computing study to a random selection from its database of technology and business managers and executives in North America.
In total, 757 respondents completed the survey between March 30 and May 2, 2011. Of these, 383 worked in organizations with at least 100 employees—the results shown in this report. Also, 131 worked in organizations with 100 to 749 employees; 121 worked in organizations with 750 to 9,999 employees, and 131 worked in firms with 10,000 or more employees.
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