Application development is one of the oldest activities in enterprise IT and the one that has changed the most since the invention of computer programming. We have moved from centralized application development and testing using primitive languages and data-storage mechanisms to extremely sophisticated application development, testing, and deployment platforms that are available for rent over the open internet. These new cloud-based application platforms are known as Platform as a Service, or PaaS.
Simply put, PaaS providers facilitate the deployment of applications. They provide all the technologies to support the complete build and deployment life cycle of applications and services delivered using private or public cloud models. Huge brands occupy the emerging PaaS space, including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Salesforce.com. Many newer startups enter the market each month, too.
While PaaS offerings vary greatly, most provide facilities for application design, deployment, testing, and self-provisioned hosting. They might offer more-advanced services too, such as team collaboration, database integration, middleware services, web-service integration, storage, state management, and version management services.
According to a recent forecast from GigaOM Pro, the PaaS market is predicted to reach $20.1 billion in 2014. The sure bet is that the rapid growth of PaaS will increase the amount of investment required by PaaS providers. The larger providers, who have more cash reserves, will continue to have the advantage, considering the number of resources they can bring to bear on the disruption vectors we describe in this report.
The recent trend seems to be that more features and functions win the day, especially those with the ability to instantly provision resources for PaaS-built applications, such as elastic storage, compute, and database services. The industry is also demanding reduced subscription prices over time and increased reliability, as well as the creation of and adherence to standards.
Some PaaS providers will be up for the challenge and have the resources to get from here to there. Others will find it easier to combine with larger companies to play in this still emerging market. Still others will fade away, either back into the larger company that brought them to market or off the planet altogether. Enterprise IT must, then, be very careful where it places its bets.
This report examines the key disruptive trends that shape the emerging PaaS market and where companies will position themselves to gain share and increase revenue.
- Number indicates company’s relative strength across all vectors
- Size of ball indicates company’s relative strength along individual vector