When will PAAS mature?
While IAAS is quite mature (as the supporting technology is quite stable), it is a different story with PAAS platforms. We do not have any clear leaders yet in PAAS platforms. There are many options like Microsoft - Azure, AWS - Elastic bean stock, VMWare - Cloud foundry, Redhat - openshift, Salesforce - Force.com, etc. All of them have their USPs and sweet spots. But for a Enterprise grade PAAS we should look with a different lens.
PAAS platforms can be broken into several levels of services. The foundation PAAS services could be Data management services (Storage with a context), Processing services (compute with a logic), Integration Services (Network with a memory) and Security (at every level). The next level of services could be build using the foundation services and these services can be Configuration management, Content management, Policy and access management, Identify management, Project management, Management and monitoring, Billing and metering, Workflow, API Management, Portals, VDI, Cloud services brokerage etc.
It is not important that I got the levels right or the service right. What is important to understand is that, this needs to be defined so that a private cloud implementation of PAAS seamlessly works with the public cloud implementation. I believe for an enterprise class PAAS, every provider must provide an on-premise model and a public cloud model. If there are many public PAAS providers for a given PAAS, then it is all the more better.
Like IAAS gave vendor independence, PAAS also must provide that level of vendor independence for greater adoption. An ideal PAAS must provide a framework for
- Delivering the service on-premise
- Delivering the service on any public cloud
- All applications developed on the PAAS will natively support elasticity and cloud burst to supported public cloud
- All applications developed will be testable, manageable & recoverable
- Only one version of application code should be required, regardless of where it is deployed
- Existing apps written in Java or .net can by default work on the PAAS without changes (this is dream), and still provide elasticity.
Do remember, once the PAAS becomes mature, SAAS offering will flourish. This means more choices for consumers of cloud services.