What developers should know when choosing an MBaaS solution

1Executive Summary

Almost every mobile application relies on a few essential services to deliver the expected functionality and user experience. Software development kits (SDKs) and integrated tools simplified the mobile application life-cycle management, but the backend that does the heavy lifting is still left to the developers — those key to driving the adoption and success of new platforms and technologies. Developers, then, need to invest in the right set of backend services that form the core of the application.

A new service delivery model of the cloud, called Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), fills the gap that exists in the current cloud delivery models and offers a higher level of abstraction than Platform as a Service (PaaS). With MBaaS, mobile developers can consume cloud services in a way better suited to mobile-application scenarios.

In the past couple of years, the number of startups offering MBaaS has surged. While some of the early movers became popular among mobile developers, the recent startups are offering similar services with very little differentiation, making it difficult to choose a specific stack. These companies share another common factor in that they are based on the same Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and PaaS platform.

With the mobile developer community growing rapidly, MBaaS is poised to become the crucial delivery model of the cloud. This may indirectly contribute to high-volume subscription rates of IaaS and PaaS, which result in increasing the overall adoption of the cloud. MBaaS has the potential to become the fastest-growing cloud-services delivery model, surpassing the adoption rate of PaaS.

This report focuses on the following:

  • Helping technology decision-makers understand the MBaaS space better
  • Analyzing the role of MBaaS in the context of existing cloud-services delivery models
  • Comparing MBaaS to IaaS and PaaS
  • Discussing the foundational services of MBaaS
  • Reviewing the current market landscape of MBaaS providers
  • Evaluating the key factors to consider when choosing an MBaaS player
Relevant Analyst
Janakiram_New

Janakiram MSV

Principal Analyst | Head - Cloud Infrastructure Services Janakiram & Associates | Aditi Technologies

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3 Comments Subscribers to comment
  1. Krishnan Subramanian Monday, September 16, 2013

    I disagree with the claim that MBaaS abstracts PaaS and IaaS. It is not true. It might abstract IaaS by offering higher order services but *it does not* abstract PaaS. It offers complementary services to PaaS. Hence the architecture diagram is not a correct representation.

    1. Hi Krish,

      I agree with you that MBaaS is not an abstraction of PaaS.

      Just below the architecture diagram, I explicitly mention this through “The above representation doesn’t mean that MBaaS is always built on top of a PaaS layer. Just as PaaS abstracts the underlying infrastructure, MBaaS abstracts underlying layers by only exposing the required API.”.

      This is similar to a lot of depictions where IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are shown as layers above each.

      1. Still not sure I am entirely convinced about the diagram. It is more like MBaaS and PaaS sitting on top of IaaS than MBaaS sitting on top of PaaS which sits on top of IaaS. That depiction is a bit more confusing. Even in Heroku, it is more of a peer to PaaS than a higher order service.

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