Today the cloud strategy at large enterprises starts with building an infrastructure only private cloud build-out, often built upon a VMWare foundation. Company by company the consistent learning is mass virtualization does not lead to native cloud application development, the ultimate goal of cloud. Whether from a vendor or developed internally, native cloud applications deliver tremendous benefits including continuous availability, software reuse, efficient use of resources, and easier integration. What is missing at first, and often added quickly after adoption of the infrastructure private cloud fails to meet adoption goals, is the development of an Enterprise Platform as a Solution capability to engage the in-house developers and bring them into the cloud. Enterprise Private PaaS is a significant part of the Fortune 500 Ready Cloud.
Simply put, a PaaS solution provides both a framework and supporting services to simplify the development of native cloud applications. An Enterprise PaaS scales the concept to meet the needs of the enterprise instead of an individual developer, team or small company. It may appear inconsistent that someone who advocates the use of Public Cloud (off-premise, multi-tenant) is advocating a Private Cloud focus. True, however here are my arguments in favor of Enterprise PaaS:
- Developing Native Cloud Apps - drives developers up the learning curve on developing native cloud applications by reducing barriers and providing a platform for learning. Nobody can learn to develop for a cloud without a cloud.
- Leveraging a Hybrid Cloud - CFO's and CIO's are keenly interested in tapping into the economic benefits of using someone else's IT assets (private off-prem or public). This is where the agility benefits are realized; the ability to scale up and down and deploy on demand as needed.
- Taking Out Costs - infrastructure costs run 4-15% of an IT budget whereas applications comprise 30-50%. In addition the application costs are directly related to personnel costs which are an expensive, difficult to attract and retain resource. Developing enterprise cloud services provides a significant opportunity to reduce development, testing, and people costs. It helps that cloud solutions are largely predicated on open source and not proprietary solutions.
- Moving to an Asset Light Foundation - cloud provides the opportunity to unchain ourselves from the evil reality of asset ownership, so driving adoption with Enterprise PaaS helps drive the benefits of asset ownership reduction.
- Third Party Web Services - Nobody wants to reinvent the wheel, especially when it means starting back at the beginning when the wheel was made of rock shaped by another rock and lots of elbow grease. Third parties are building and offering API's as a means of deeper and broader integration. In the future many solutions bought today as services, and even applications, will be replaced by automated integration via web services.
- Talent Management - Its already tough enough to compete for talent against companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Providing access to the same technologies will go a long way to attracting and retaining talent who don't want to fall behind their peers.
- Path to the Public Cloud - you knew it was coming, my argument for how private cloud benefits public clouds. As one who as warned about the pitfalls of private clouds, the benefit that outweighs the cost is ITS STILL CLOUD! Any step that increases the understanding of cloud is a positive step. Let the security and economic considerations play out over time. I have cast my lot with the group who expect the public cloud will win in the end. I don't care how companies get there.
Enterprise PaaS is the gateway to cloud innovation - step on through!