The Year of the PaaS

Is 2016 the Year of the PaaS? Magic 8 Ball Says…

Right Like a Weatherperson

Seemingly bold predictions are all the rage at this time of the year, as though flipping your calendar to a new month will magically alter trends that started long ago. What does “Year of the PaaS” even mean? What is the year of anything? How do we measure this type of thing? Market penetration? Ok, fine. But how granular does that analysis have to be?

The point here is that it doesn’t matter if 2016 is the right year that other companies adopt new technological solutions. In reality, the “Year of the PaaS” is any year when a company steps forward and decides that it wants to reap the benefits of a PaaS. For that company, that year is the year of the PaaS.

It seems that for several years in a row technologists, analysts, and businessmen alike have predicted that this year is when the Platform as a Service is really going to catch on. Others lament the unrealized potential of the PaaS and openly wonder when it will take its proper place in the cloud computing realm.

Some in the tech world argue that PaaS doesn’t quite pass muster for many businesses yet because of platform lock-in, and the lack of a true platform ecosystem. Are these volleys fair or a generalization?

Don’t Spit and Tell Me It’s Raining

These roadblocks may be real for some platform vendors, but to suggest that, as a rule, they are shared universally misses the mark. The very fact that “as a service” connotes a cloud environment suggests that there is an intrinsic need for flexibility and adaptability.

On the matter of platform lock-in, this may be true of large vendors offering turn-key solutions on their platforms, but what if you don’t need an entire suite of applications, or you require something unique to your organization or industry?

In the world of communications having a locked-in platform doesn’t make much sense because the entire purpose of communications is to, well… communicate with other entities. Hamstringing a platform to only perform particular functions rather than giving developers free-reign to create their own solutions is bad for communications, and therefore bad for business.

The same goes with claims of a deficient ecosystem. What does that even mean? The very nature of a web service means that a platform must be able to interact with a range of other services and applications, such as databases, file storage, security, and messaging.

If we again focus on the world of communications, then the need for interoperability re-emerges in high-relief. The entire idea of making a development platform available in a cloud environment is to more easily facilitate these operations. An attentive vendor will have APIs available to accomplish this goal, or if an API doesn’t already exist then they will work to create one. Suffice it to say that supporting APIs ensures that a PaaS isn’t lacking in the oomph! department.

The Real PaaS Advantage

One doesn’t need a crystal ball or to channel the spirit of Nostradamus to make predictions. All one has to do is look at industry trends and roll with those. A recent study by Wikibon claims that PaaS revenue will jump from just under $2B in 2014 to over $68B in 2026, which corresponds to an 11% increase in total public cloud revenues. In other words, PaaS solutions are catching on and their upward trajectory is definitely in positive territory.

As companies look for way to increase efficiency and lower start-up costs a move to the cloud becomes increasingly appealing. Of course, the sooner a company adopts the cloud, the sooner they can start to realize these savings. There’s also the benefit of having a leg up on the competition as well.

Twenty-sixteen doesn’t have to be the year of the PaaS, just make it your year for PaaS.

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