Home > Cloud Computing, Cloud Security > Silent Lucidity: IaaS — Already A Dinosaur? The Evolution of PaaSasaurus Rex…

Silent Lucidity: IaaS — Already A Dinosaur? The Evolution of PaaSasaurus Rex…

November 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

dinosaurSitting in an impressive room at the Google campus in Mountain View last month, I asked the collective group of brainpower a slightly rhetorical question:

How much longer do you feel pure-play Infrastructure-As-A-Service will be a relevant service model within the spectrum of cloud services?

I couched the question with previous “incomplete thoughts*” relating to the move “up-stack” by IaaS providers — providing value-added, at-cost services to both differentiate and soften the market for what I call the “PaaSification” of the consumer.  I also highlighted the move “down-stack” by SaaS vendors building out platforms to support a broader ecosystem and value proposition.

In the long term, I think ultimately the trichotomy of the SPI model will dissolve thanks to commoditization and the need for providers to differentiate — even at mass scale.  We’ll ultimately just talk about service delivery and the platform(s) used to deliver them.  Infrastructure will enable these services, of course, but that’s not where the money will come from.

Just look at the approach of providers such as Amazon, Terremark and Savvis and how they are already clawing their way up the PaaS stack, adding more features and functions that either equalize public cloud capabilities with those of the enterprise or even differentiate from it.  Look at Microsoft’s Azure.  How about Heroku, Engine Yard, Joyent?  How about VMware and Springsource?  All platform plays. Develop, click, deploy.

As I mention in my Cloudifornication presentation, I think that from a security perspective, PaaS offers the potential of eliminating entire classes of vulnerabilities in the application development lifecycle by enforcing sanitary programmatic practices across the derivate works built upon them.  I look forward also to APIs and standards that allow for consistency across providers. I think PaaS has the greatest potential to deliver this.

There are clearly trade-offs here, but as we start to move toward the two key differentiators (at least for public clouds) — management and security — I think the value of PaaS will really start to shine.

Probably just another bout of obviousness, but if I were placing bets, this is where I’d sink my nickels.



* The most relevant “incomplete thought” is the one titled “Incomplete Thought: Virtual Machines Are the Problem, Not the Solution…” in which I kicked around the notion that virtualization-enabled IaaS and the VM containers they enable are simply an ugly solution to an uglier problem…

  1. November 12th, 2009 at 17:51 | #1

    I see it going more like S+PaaS (e.g. Wave) and IaaS+AppV (i.e. move legacy applications into AppV containers on IaaS private, or virtually-private, clouds).

    There's definitely going to be more S+PaaS than IaaS in the short-term. However, how many legacy applications are going to move into the cloud and at what speed are they going to get there?

  2. November 12th, 2009 at 19:50 | #2

    Lucid as always. Platforms are a great place to put attention and focus. Another great place for startups to think about adding value is in the interfaces between the BAPI (SPI) layers. Infrastructure is clearly an differentiated commodity play. It will, in fact, make life significantly harder for hosting businesses.

  3. November 12th, 2009 at 23:51 | #3

    Our approach is to focus on CIO's business and IT issues and map those on to the NIST definitions (deployment models, service models). If you don't have IaaS as the foundation, PaaS as the differentiator and SaaS for vertical market focus, your cloud services will not be flexible enough to meet those CIO needs. Will "pure play" IaaS move towards commodity? – yes. Will companies still want to buy infrastructure? – yes – for many years to come. In the future, will all infrastructure services look the same and address the same markets? – no, not really – we think latency, regulatory and security requirements will play a large role in ensuring they don't, especially in European markets.

  4. November 13th, 2009 at 13:01 | #4

    Interesting and well-thought-out post! I agree that PaaS is likely the cloud service of the future, as it has many advantages, including a greater level of abstraction, so the developer can focus more on the application logic and less on the nuances of the environment. However, IaaS will likely keep a following for its flexibility and greater level of control.

    As Andre Gironda suggests, at least a major part of the cloud computing industry will likely embrace S+PaaS, with Microsoft's Windows Azure Platform leading the way for cloud computing service providers to provide tooks to make "hybrid" solutions relatively easy to implement.

    (I am collaborating with M80, helping to promote Microsoft's Windows Azure Platform)

  5. November 13th, 2009 at 15:03 | #5

    'Dinosaurs' had a good ~100 million year run from the Triassic through the Cretaceous.

    I'll bet Jur'aaS'ic that IaaS will dominate the foreseeable future.

    I agree that our legacy notions of operating systems and therefore virtual machines are outdated, but they are so deeply entrenched that it will take a while for them to die out.

    As much as people hem and haw about 'Cloud Standards' for IaaS, the PaaS landscape is even more varied. I don't see PaaS taking over soon and the current forms might one day be Morganucodon like footnotes in the evolution of computing.

  6. November 16th, 2009 at 10:11 | #6

    The more flexibility, the more possibilities to innovate and to differentiate – that's why I believe in IaaS (+SaaS/PaaS on top of it in many cases). There will always be the necessity to do something different and unpredictable that no API anticipates.

  7. November 16th, 2009 at 13:14 | #7

    Enjoyed the perspective … was a bit disappointed that the Queensryche tie-in never happened.

  8. February 12th, 2010 at 17:07 | #8

    I don't see this as an either or situation (and I don't think you do either). Just as SaaS makes sense in some settings, Iaas and PaaS have their place in the market. You appeared to hedge your bet a bit when you offered that there are tradeoffs. The tradeoffs you mention along with others will serve as decision points from which to select the correct solution for the job. Does PaaS have more value than the popular buzz alludes? I certainly can line up behind that view.

  1. February 4th, 2010 at 10:55 | #1
  2. April 21st, 2010 at 20:01 | #2
  3. September 14th, 2010 at 22:28 | #3
  4. January 9th, 2011 at 02:25 | #4
  5. January 26th, 2012 at 16:46 | #5
  6. January 28th, 2012 at 16:10 | #6
  7. January 30th, 2012 at 19:49 | #7