Technology analyst house Gartner has said that 2011 will be a seminal year in terms of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings and cloud-enabled application infrastructure products. Claiming that the battle for leadership in PaaS and the key PaaS segments will engulf the software industry, Gartner VP Yefim Natis says that early consolidation of specialized PaaS offerings into PaaS suites will also be evident.
Suggesting that new vendors will enter the market through acquisitions or in-house development, Natis says that users can expect a wave of innovation and hype as it becomes harder to find a consistent message, set of standards or clear winning vendor.
PaaS is a common reference to the layer of cloud technology architecture that contains all application infrastructure services (operating systems, networks, virtualization, storage, etc.), which are also known as "middleware" in other contexts. The technology services that are part of a full-scope PaaS include functionality of application containers, application development tools, database management systems, integration brokers, portals, business process management and many others — all offered as a service.
Today's PaaS offerings come in a over a dozen of specialized types says Natis; however, during the next three years, the variety of PaaS specialist-subset offerings will consolidate to a few major application infrastructure service suites, and, over a longer time, comprehensive, full-scale PaaS offerings will emerge as well.
Gartner estimates that during the next five years, the adoption of PaaS in most midsize and large organizations will not lead to a wholesale transition to cloud computing. Instead, it will be an extension of the use patterns of on-premises application infrastructures to hybrid computing models where on-premises application infrastructures and PaaS will coexist, interoperate and integrate.
"The cloud computing era is just beginning, and the prevailing patterns, standards and best practices of cloud software engineering have not yet been established. This represents an opportunity for new software providers to build a leading presence in the software solutions market," said Natis. "It is also a major technical and business challenge to the established software vendors — to retain their leadership by extending into the new space without undermining their hard-earned strength in the dominant on-premises computing market."