ITBusinessEdge | August 6, 2013

The Road to the Hybrid Cloud Runs Through PaaS

Most enterprises are far enough into the cloud deployment process to understand that there is more than one type of cloud. At the moment, many organizations are content to spin up a few hosted resources to gain extra storage or run a few key applications. But as cloud strategies become more refined, the style of cloud implemented on both private and public resources and the infrastructure that supports them can have a dramatic impact on future data objectives.

As I’ve pointed out, hybrid architectures are only as good as the private cloud allows them to be, and so far only a handful of organizations are pursuing what leading experts deem to be a true private cloud strategy. Part of this is because the cloud is still an ill-defined concept, but legacy infrastructure can be a major drag as well—particularly when it consists primarily of silo-based, bare-metal architecture. So clearly, the first step in any coordinated cloud strategy is to implement virtual and software-defined infrastructure to the broadest extent possible.

But if the road to public and hybrid cloud operations runs through the private cloud, what sort of private cloud should the enterprise strive for? At the moment, there are three generally accepted classes of cloud: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Choosing between them is basically a matter of how much of your data environment you want to deploy on the cloud: just the applications (Saas), the environment that apps are developed and deployed within (PaaS), or a top-to-bottom data center (IaaS).

When it comes to implementing a work-a-day hybrid cloud that is capable of application support, data bursting and the like, consensus is starting to point to PaaS as the most viable option. As Apprenda’s Sinclair Schuller points out, PaaS on the private cloud overcomes some of the key roadblocks that prevent internal apps from utilizing external resources—namely resource dependencies, performance, security and data migration. With PaaS, enterprises can establish policy-based data and application environments that can be easily integrated with public IaaS architectures…