Yesterday, Ben Kepes posted about his vision of the evolution of PaaS. The money section comes down near the end where he talks about the two distinct realms he sees platforms fitting into: infrastructure and application.
I think he’s spot on with that breakdown (and he even
stole used the acronyms I’ve been using to describe them), but I’d describe the application PaaS a little differently than Ben did.
Or perhaps I’d rename Ben’s application PaaS category to business PaaS (bPaaS?). There’s clearly a lot of interest in very focused platforms that make it easy to build relatively simple, constrained applications. I’d argue that Force.com, Longjump, Orangescape and many others fit in that category. And they definitely have their purpose.
But I see an opportunity between the infrastructure PaaS (categorized by Amazon Beanstalk) and the business PaaS as described above that can more correctly be termed an application PaaS.
That’s the space that vmWare’s CloudFoundry, the non-VM role Microsoft Azure options, and Apprenda’s SaaSGrid (disclaimer: I work for Apprenda) fit into. These platforms abstract away the infrastructure from the developer, but still allow for robust, complete applications to be deployed on them, and will provide shared services to address cross-cutting concerns.
Each of these categories has its place in the full spectrum of IT delivery. Each provides a different level of application abstraction - and choosing the right one will depend on your specific requirements.