|By Lori MacVittie||
|November 27, 2013 07:00 AM EST||
Back in the day - when the Internets were exploding and I was still coding - I worked in enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture, for the record, is generally not the same as application development. When an organization grows beyond a certain point, it becomes necessary to start designing a common framework upon which applications can be rapidly developed and deployed.
Architects design and implement this framework and application developers then code their applications for deployment on that architecture.
If that sounds a lot like PaaS it should because deep down, it is.
The difference with PaaS is its focus on self-service and operationalization of the platform through automation and orchestration. Traditional enterprise architectures scaled through traditional mechanisms, while PaaS enables a far more fluid and elastic model for scalability and a more service-oriented, API-driven method of management.
A 2012 Engine Yard survey found that it is the operational benefits that are driving interest in PaaS. The "cost-savings" argument typically associated with cloud solutions? A distant third in benefits attributed to this "new" model:
Interestingly, folks seem positively enamored of public models of cloud computing, including PaaS, and are ignoring the ginormous potential within the data center, inside the enterprise walls. It's far less of a leap to get enterprise architects and developers migrating to a PaaS model in the enterprise than it is to get server and network administrators and operators to move to a service-based model for infrastructure. That's because the architects and developers are familiar with the paradigm, they've been "doing it" already and all that's really left is the operationalization of the underlying infrastructure upon which their architectural frameworks (and thus applications) have been deployed.
At the end of the day (or the end of the hype cycle as it were), PaaS is not all that different from what enterprise architects have been building out for years. What they need now is operationalization of the platforms to enable the scalability and reliability of the application infrastructure upon which they've built their frameworks.