PaaS dominates the majority of the “future of cloud” discussions. PaaS has gone from being a technology focused on helping developers deploy and scale, to one where PaaS is the modern cloud application server for enterprises.
As part of that transformation, enterprises want to acquire PaaS technology to layer atop of their infrastructure with the goal of modernizing their own datacenters. This gives the enterprise the lion’s share of PaaS value –a better operating model for the application portfolio and a runtime for next generation apps and legacy app modernization, but delivered as an internal cloud consumable by their massive developer employee base.
Being at such an early phase of the market, we don’t expect a “Magic Quadrant” (Gartner’s renowned research rankings) for the Private PaaS market yet. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant focuses on measuring companies on two dimensions: the ability to execute and completeness of vision.
So thinking ahead, I used these dimensions to look at the early market of Private PaaS execution. The Quadrant images are not meant to be as self-serving as they appear, but rather demonstrate what early market adopting customers are evaluating when reviewing the vendors that exist today.
Apprenda cornered the market on Private PaaS early on. Today, we are leading the market in a strong and growing paying customer install base, production case studies, and a knowledge base stemming from our enterprise customer interactions that no one else has. Our Private PaaS is the most matured and trusted by major F1000 brands.
Since we do have the advantage of being the market leader, we figured we would take a stab at a Magic Quadrant-like plotting of technologies in the private PaaS space.
Rather than using the aforementioned Gartner dimensions, we decided to look at the Private PaaS market through a more specific and market-tuned lens. Our goal was to understand how Apprenda stacks up against competitors on tactical vs. strategic value to enterprises. How do we measure tactical vs. strategic value in PaaS? Easy.
1. Tactical value in PaaS is captured in devops – the workflows that remove friction from the system for developers and help them get apps up and running more quickly.
2. Strategic value in PaaS is delivered through a PaaS’ ability to commoditize architecture patterns by “enhancing” plain old web and SOA applications to be cloud enabled, and to provide APIs that give developers access to cloud architecture services.
I’ve been a passionate believer that PaaS’ role in cloud computing is much more than the tactical “deploy and scale for developers” pitched by most vendors. I strongly believe that PaaS’ role is that of a modern day application server – a technology layer who’s primary focus is commoditizing cloud architecture patterns, with deploy and scale being a value tagalong. This is strategic value because it will shape how enterprises write apps for the next 10 years, rather than shape how a developer deploys apps (a post development consideration). If we take the two aforementioned dimensions and create a “Strategic PaaS Plot” using some of the players in the PaaS market, we get something that looks like this:As an enterprise, which dimension matters most? If PaaS is a pillar in an enterprise’s IT strategy, both dimensions matter. Ops value provides immediate return and solves some sticky at-scale app and infrastructure management challenges. Next generation architecture strategic value allows enterprises to transform their business by being able to go after new markets in innovative ways (take enterprises using SaaS architecture patterns, for example, to expose applications to their customer base). Enterprises need to look for technologies that straddle the line trending toward the top right of this plot, and not one stuck on any given dimension (which will ultimately create a ceiling on the type of value that technology can generate)
Enterprise decision makers are always tasked with the same two things: save money and drive innovation. The right PaaS can provide both, the wrong PaaS can jeopardize your goals. Choose carefully.