Cloud Computing

Platform-as-a-Service: Strategies, technologies and providers – A compendium for IT decision-makers

“Software is eating the world” – With this sentence in an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2011, the inventor of Netscape and famous venture capitalist Marc Andreesen described a trend which is today more than apparent: software will provide the foundation for transforming virtually all industries, business models and customer relationships. Software is more than just a component for controlling hardware: it has become an integral part of the value added in a large number of services and products. From the smartphone app to the car computer. From music streaming to intelligent building control. From tracking individual training data to automatic monitoring of power grids.

60 years after the start of the computer revolution, 40 years after the invention of the microprocessor and 20 years after the launch of the modern internet, the requirements for developing, operating and above all distributing software have changed fundamentally.

But not just the visionaries from Silicon Valley have rec- ognised this structural change. European industrial concerns such as Bosch are in the meantime also investing a large percentage of their research and development budgets in a new generation of software. So we find Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner announcing that by 2020 all equipment supplied by Bosch will be internet-enabled. Because in the Internet of Things, the benefit of products is only partially determined by their design and hardware specification. The networked services provide much of the benefit – or value added – of the product. And these services are software-based.

The implications of this structural shift have been clearly apparent in the IT industry for a few years now. Large IT concerns such as IBM and HP are trying to reduce their dependency on their hardware business and are investing heavily in the software sector.

In the meantime, the cloud pioneer Salesforce, with sales of four billion USD, has developed into one of the heavyweights in the software business. Start-ups like WhatsApp offer a simple but extremely user-friendly mobile app which have gained hundreds of millions of users worldwide within a few years.

State-of-the-art software can cause so-called disruptive changes nowadays. In companies and markets. In politics and society. In culture and in private life. But how are all the new applications created? Who writes all the millions of lines of code?. Which are the new platforms upon which the thousands upon thousands of applications are developed and operated?

This compendium examines these questions. It focuses par- ticularly on the role that “Platform as a Service” offerings play for developers and companies today. Because although after almost a decade of cloud computing the terms IaaS and SaaS are widely known and many companies use these cloud services, only a few companies have so far gathered experience with “Platform as a Service”.

The aim is to provide IT decision-makers and developers with an overview of the various types and potential applications of Platform as a Service. Because there is a wide range of these, extending from designing business processes (aPaaS) right through to the complex integration of different cloud services (iPaaS).

With this compendium, the authors and the initiator, PIRONET NDH, wish to make a small contribution to the better under- standing of state-of-the-art cloud-based software development processes and platforms. This compendium is designed to support all entrepreneurs, managers and IT experts who will have to decide on the development and use of new applications and software-based business processes in the coming years. The authors see Platform as a Service becoming one of the cornerstones for implementing the digital transformation in companies, because the majority of the new digital applications will be developed and operated on PaaS platforms.

The compendium can be downloaded free of charge under “Platform-as-a-Service: Strategies, technologies and providers – A compendium for IT decision-makers“.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.