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What's the Buzz with PaaS?

Cloud Foundry Used to Deploy Any Number of Great New Things

What's the Buzz with PaaS?

I was talking to a friend the other day about Cloud Foundry and whether there was any buzz surrounding it. Cloud Foundry in particular and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in general have now been around for a few years, a considerable amount of time in the Web Era.

Recent buzz was generated with the formal establishment of the Cloud Foundry Foundation last year. Collateral buzz was generated by CoreOS with its late-year Rocket container announcement, which took aim at CFF member Docker and its expanding containers strategy.

That said, "buzz" may be too strong a word to associate with the unglamorous tasks of designing and deploying software applications and services into the cloud. Yet, companies who are integrating PaaS into the way they do things should not be afraid to commend themselves a little bit for being pioneers in what are still the early days of the PaaS phenomenon.

PaaS generated less than $4 billion in global revenue in 2012, according to IDC. The research firm predicts annual growth rates on the order of 50%, with revenues reaching $14 billion by 2017.

This number would still be less than 1% of the global total enterprise IT spend of more than $2 trillion. But it would be a very important 1%. PaaS provides that critical link between infrastructure (processing power, storage, and networking) and the software applications and services that run on it.

Time's wastin'
In a world in which flexible, fluid technology stacks are emerging, competing, and mixing with one another, there is a sense that there is no time to develop and deploy new software. Long development cycles are replaced by the perpetual beta, a DevOps culture is emerging (difficult as it may be), and a mobile-equipped populace not only needs its information right now, it needs the latest, coolest experience right now.

So, we circle back to PaaS. Within a typical enterprise shop of a few dozen or few hundred developers, a PaaS such as Cloud Foundry will be of interest to about 70% of the staff, according to a conversation I had with an exec at a Cloud Foundry company. Not everyone will be using it directly, of course, but the majority of the team needs to know what is doing and why. In smaller shops, a PaaS will be of high interest to everyone.

There may not be a big buzz per se for the PaaS itself, but there should be for the projects it enables. I've already seen notable stories concerning the use of Cloud Foundry to Cloud Foundry in these cases was used to improve products and services in major industries such as healthcare, agriculture, and entertainment. It also transformed the entire business and delivery model for a major publishing company.

Companies buzzing with success include AT&T, Monsanto, the LDS Church, Philips, Axel Springer, and Warner Music. Each of these projects had a measurable outcome and success criteria.

So, I do believe there is some buzz about Cloud Foundry, or at least the projects it is help bringing to life.

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Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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