IBM Developer Works | May 19, 2013

JPMorgan Chase’s big Platform as a Service Transformation

“NEW YORK–()–Apprenda, the leader in enterprise private platform-as-a-service, today announced JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide, has selected Apprenda’s platform to develop, deliver and manage its portfolio of internal applications,custom-built in .NET and Java. This significant deal is the largest private PaaS implementation to date, setting a benchmark for how enterprises modernize and deliver data-sensitive private cloud applications.”

This announcement has a significant impact on two lines of conversation that I regularly have with customers:

1. The PaaS vs IaaS question.  In general, among the customers I usually talk to, IaaS has been a nearer-term investment area than PaaS.  Many of our clients have steadily been moving from simple data center virtualization projects into more formal IaaS arrangements (either within their own data centers, with service providers running them privately for them or <gasp> on public clouds.  However, while application teams at our customers have dabbled in PaaS, few IT departments have made formal moves there, and few in the CIO offices have articulated investment plans there.




There are at least a couple of reasons for this focus on IaaS over PaaS.  First, IT Operations has traditionally controlled IT spending and decision making, and IaaS makes sense to people with IT Ops skills and business plans.  It’s pretty easy to migrate, both conceptually and figuratively, from a virtualized private data center to a formal IaaS environment.  We understand VMs, and how to deploy our applications on them via patterns, and have the tools and expertise to manage such an environment.  PaaS is a different animal, typically requiring a significant change in management tactics and tools, which often means surrendering that mission to the PaaS provider (and, consequently, having to pay them more for that).

Second, there’s the application development transformation required to move to a PaaS posture.  Before now, I haven’t seen many examples of large companies, with vast application teams, undertaking such a daunting program on a large scale.  Not only does this require a significant shift in IT spending decision making from a “bottom-up” approach (driven by application teams) from the “top-down” approach historically driven by IT Ops, but the theoretical cost savings and agility have suffered from a lack of large-scale case studies.  The application delivery efficiencies described here are eye-opening on their own, while the infrastructure efficiency gains are a surprising bonus…