Develop a Position on Cloud Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) has potential for cost savings and agility.


Your Challenge

  • The Situation. “The Cloud” has become a major hype area as cost conscious enterprises explore the potential of renting IT services (infrastructure, applications, development platforms) to save costs over internal provisioning (i.e. buying and maintaining infrastructure).
  • The Opportunity.Where Infrastructure as a Service, for example, is a version of the cloud for infrastructure managers (how I can deliver infrastructure with less CAPEX and OPEX), Platform as a Service is the cloud for application development managers (how will it enable more rapid and agile application development services to the enterprise over and above CAPEX/OPEX savings?).
  • The Challenge.Info-Tech has found that interest in the cloud is at least as strong throughout the business as it is within IT. The application development manager may well be interested in exploiting the potential of PaaS (internal initiative). They may also be under pressure from the business to show why or why not PaaS should be used.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Info-Tech predicts that of the three types of external cloud-based services – Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and Platform as a Service – PaaS will show the most growth in 2010/2011. This is due to both internal and external factors.
  • More enterprises are evaluating, but fewer have adopted a PaaS solution. Though all types are in early stages, PaaS is the most nascent.
  • On the market side in 2010, vendors have debuted powerful PaaS offerings including Microsoft (Azure) and VMware/Salesforce.com (VMforce).
  • In Platform as a Service – like other cloud-based services – cloud computing impacts the economics of the solution. Low CAPEX/OPEX barriers to entry and rapid deployment are the highest ranked positives of the cloud. However the App/Dev manager’s first concern is with how PaaS will enable delivery of applications that are more responsive to business requirements and better serve the end user.
  • The first issue is whether the platform meets the needs of your development methodology and programming framework. Though the business benefits of any cloud-based offering can be sold to business (low costs of entry, rapid and streamlined implementation) the app/dev manager must also be sold on the benefits of the cloud for PaaS. They will be the ones working with the PaaS solution and they will be held accountable if anything goes wrong.

Impact and Result

  • Determine if PaaS offerings can meet the organizations’ development needs.
  • Determine the most appropriate projects for PaaS hosting.
  • Document the business case for PaaS that makes a go/no go recommendation and clearly explains both the benefits and potential risks in business terms.

Contributors

  • New Leaders for New Schools
  • NET (net) Inc.

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Get to Action

  1. Get the whole picture of PaaS as one of the services that can live in the cloud.

    Determine how PaaS and software can enable agile strategy and clear infrastructure hurdles.

  2. Assess whether PaaS is a fit with your app/dev strategy.

    PaaS is a no go if there isn’t an app/dev strategy that it suits.

  3. Document a case for or against proceeding with PaaS evaluation.

    Communicate to the app/dev strategic benefits and risks as well as the business benefits and risks of the cloud.

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