Infopaper. Demystifying Platform as a Service

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1 Demystifying Platform as a Service The dividing lines between PaaS and IaaS may be blurring, but it s important for outsourcers of IT infrastructure to understand what sets Private PaaS apart from commodity offerings delivered via the Public Cloud has been billed as the year that Platform as a Service (PaaS) finally takes off. Gartner made this prediction back in 2011 and there are now a growing number of industry commentators that agree. PaaS today however, remains at an early stage of adoption. Gartner estimates that it represents only about 1% of a $131-billion Public Cloud computing market, with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) accounting for some 15% and 6% respectively. Nevertheless, with PaaS technologies embedded within many other types of Cloud services, direct revenue in the PaaS market is believed to grossly underestimate its importance. The fundamental appeal of PaaS, says Gartner, is the opportunity for independent software developers (ISVs) and IT organisations to create new software solutions with minimal capital expense (Capex), and without the hassle of provisioning PaaS growth in numbers and configuring the underlying infrastructure. Certainly, ISVs and e-commerce providers have long recognised the benefits of PaaS. More recently however, the evolution of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has made the market considerably more confusing for enterprise consumers when it comes to delineating between the two. This confusion stems from instances where the layers of PaaS and IaaS collapse into one another. For example, in its purest form, IaaS would consist only of compute, storage, network, leaving the consumer to deploy, manage and maintain an operating system (OS). There are not many scenarios in which a consumer would want to acquire IaaS without an OS, given the latter is necessary to run that infrastructure. As such, consumers today expect an OS to be provided as standard by their Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Yet CSPs are evolving their IaaS offerings further by including management and security components around the OS, and adding features such as automated virtual machine deployment. With some industry commentators arguing that PaaS will eventually merge as a feature into general purpose IaaS, the future of PaaS as an individual model of Cloud computing has been called into question. Yet there are several key reasons why PaaS will remain as a distinct layer and set of products. $360 million Potential average spend annually in PaaS technologies ( , Gartner) $1.5 billion Worldwide PaaS revenue in 2013 (Gartner) $8.1 billion Worldwide spending on PaaS in 2014 (IDC) $2.9 billion Worldwide PaaS revenue in 2016 (Gartner) $20.3 billion Worldwide spending on PaaS in 2018 (IDC) Phone: Fax:

2 Defining PaaS PaaS is a Cloud Infrastructure encompassing compute, storage and network up to and including the OS. When delivered as a managed service under the utility billing model, PaaS sees the service provider being responsible for managing the underlying cloud infrastructure and an agreed set of applications. The customer retains control over the deployed applications and, potentially, the configuration settings for the application-hosting environment. PaaS provides consumers with the capability to deploy onto Cloud Infrastructure applications created using programmatic code and can be employed to service internal and/or external customers. It can also be used for the delivery of a multitude of standard and/or bespoke applications developed either internally, or that have been acquired. Crucially, it allows users to develop, run and manage applications without the cost and complexity of maintaining the underlying infrastructure. The debate over how to define PaaS and what separates it from IaaS is one that rumbles on among consumers and service providers alike due to the tendency for commodity CSPs to define PaaS within the context of their own offerings. Although the lines are blurring, a managed or Private PaaS solution should not be confused with the Public or commodity IaaS/PaaS offered by CSPs. PaaS Perceptions The middle layer of the software stack in the cloud that intermediates between the underlying system infrastructure (operating systems, networks, virtualisation, storage, etc.) and overlaying application software Writing code that s integrated with a runtime environment, as opposed to code dropped into a virtual machine sitting on a bare-metal server A full environment not only for development of an application, but lifecycle management and some orchestration A service catalogue and the ability to move workloads from Cloud to Cloud Where an application scales seamlessly with the platform and the infrastructure Phone: Fax:

3 Public versus Private The key difference between the IaaS/PaaS available from Public Cloud CSPs and those delivered on dedicated or Private Cloud Infrastructure by Managed Service Providers (MSPs) lies in the resources that fall within the customermanaged stack and specifically, the middleware that sits between the application/web layer and the database [see Figure 1]. Middleware might include Microsoft Exchange, SQL, or the database application server or web server. Figure 1: How IaaS, PaaS and Private PaaS Stack Up IaaS PaaS Private PaaS Shared Applications (CRM, ERP) Customer Applications Middleware Applications (web, application) Customer Shared Applications (CRM, ERP) Customer Managed Applications Digital Security Customer Shared Applications (CRM, ERP) Customer Managed Applications Digital Security Customer Databases Bunker Standard Managed Applications / Integration Bunker non Standard Managed Applications and Integration Digital Security Middleware Applications (web, application) Bunker Standard Managed Applications and Integration Standard Operating Systems Databases Middleware Applications (web, application) Virtualisation Servers/Compute Storage Networking The Bunker Applications and Integration Standard Operating Systems Virtualisation Servers / Compute Storage The Bunker Databases Standard Operating Systems Virtualisation Servers / Compute The Bunker Physical Security Networking Storage Data Centre Physical Security Networking Data Centre Physical Security Data Centre Source: The Bunker Phone: Fax:

4 Under the commodity or Public IaaS/PaaS model, CSPs deliver compute, network, and storage (likely including a standard OS). Buying a service in this way enables the consumer to reduce their Capex on infrastructure and benefit from the flexibility, scalability and utility consumption model that Public Cloud brings. But it also means they miss out on any form of management or monitoring of that infrastructure and associated data centres. Moreover, because Public IaaS/PaaS is based on shared resources (multi-tenanted), and often across multiple sites and multiple countries, there is additional risk for enterprise consumers if they re looking to migrate business-critical applications or sensitive data. Conversely, Private PaaS, is delivered on Dedicated or Private Cloud Infrastructure. When provided externally by an MSP, Private PaaS means that the infrastructure is managed and operated solely for the consumer (i.e. it is provisioned on dedicated physical systems), with access controls, encryption and segregation ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their applications and data. Consumers of Private PaaS not only reduce Capex, but their operational expenditure (Opex) too because they are removing the headache of managing the infrastructure altogether. In doing so, this model allows their technical resources to focus on innovation and adding value to their core business. Why Private PaaS? Developing and running applications has always been complex, expensive and time-intensive. Each application requires hardware, an OS, a database, middleware, web servers, and other software together with the IT resources to support it. More complex applications require more sophisticated infrastructure, and can prove difficult to scale or update. There s also the possibility that a new business requirement will call for a change in the application, which can result in a lengthy development, test and redeployment cycle. PaaS was conceived to remove all of these headaches by offering a faster and more cost-effective model for application development and delivery. Users can access custom applications built in the Cloud in the same way they do with those delivered under SaaS. The beauty of PaaS in its purest form is that it provides end user organisations with the ability to develop and test easily in an environment that is exactly the same as the one in which it will ultimately be deployed. It s also possible to switch seamlessly from test and development to production. By enabling consumers to spin up dedicated environments optimised for their applications in an instant, it s possible for users to write an entire platform in an Open Source environment using a language such as Ruby. And with the IT team working to an Agile methodology, they can develop and release small work packages regularly. Phone: Fax:

5 As shown in Table 1, PaaS allows in-house IT teams, ISVs and e-commerce providers to develop, run and manage applications without the associated complexities of maintaining the underlying infrastructure. Instead, they can focus on their core business, whether it s delivering SaaS to internal or external customers, enhancing their storefronts, or adding value to other areas of their organisation. Table 1: How IaaS, PaaS and Private PaaS Stack Up IaaS PaaS Private PaaS Managed hardware to enable team to focus on strategic IT Move IT service delivery from a Capex to Opex model Provides a business system delivery platform Provides a service delivery platform Bespoke environment to drop code into Test & development platform Software delivery platform Service delivery platform Bespoke environment to drop code into Test & development platform Software delivery platform Service delivery platform n/a Mainly Microsoft platform Mainly Open Source Platform Source: The Bunker Benefits of a managed service Private PaaS can be delivered with an Open Source platform tailored to work perfectly in tune with the consumer s in-house environment, ensuring seamless portability for applications between the two. Users can develop in the Cloud and then simply drop a new or updated version of their code into their internal environment under a single automated process. Leading MSPs offer both Open Source and Microsoft platforms, and will create ready-made service catalogues for customers that include multiple templates accommodating the specific versions of the libraries, applications, servers and services required. Automated orchestration and delivery of these resources ensures fast time to market and supports Agile development methodologies making Private PaaS especially attractive for developers delivering applications under a SaaS model to internal and/or external customers. Private PaaS solutions also allow consumers to benefit from highly bespoke environments, with security built in from the ground up and in accordance with the consumer s specific requirements (e.g. PCI DSS compliance). When selecting a provider, security conscious consumers should look for an MSP that is ISO accredited, IGSoC approved, and fully compliant with PCI DSS and ITIL v3. Accreditations such as these are vital for any business operating in a regulated environment, where there is now a much greater focus on robust supply chain management, due diligence and mitigating risk. Phone: Fax:

6 In addition to providing highly secure environments, experienced MSPs can assure high availability by replicating a Private PaaS environment across sites, with clustered databases, automatic failover and full orchestration. As shown in Figure 2, provisions for Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Disaster Recovery (DR) are also high on the list of priorities for consumers serving customers with the same high expectations that they have (e.g. Financial Institutions, e-commerce providers). Figure 2: Private PaaS Which Capabilities are Most Important for Enterprise Users? Disaster recovery / Business continuity Service-level guarantees 82% 83% Easy-to-use tools to monitor, manage and maintain the platform and applications 81% Tight integration with on-premises databases 79% Source: Oracle Cloud Computing Survey 2014 Consultative engagement Building Private PaaS needs to be approached as a consultative engagement. An MSP s specialists should be able to work in close collaboration with the consumer s in-house teams to create an environment that s available instantly when the consumer needs it and works the way they want it to. The MSP must be adept at managing shared applications such as CRM and ERP, as well as a customer s in-house applications. This is particularly important when it comes to the grey area that exists between the OS and the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP). An experienced MSP will also be able to recommend on whether a solution could include Multi-Tenanted Cloud Infrastructure. In particular, businesses should look for an MSP that offers a Technical Champion programme, whereby a senior member from the MSP s technical team holds regular conversations with the consumer s technical resources to explore opportunities to enhance and maximise on their investment in PaaS. Phone: Fax:

7 Analysts at IDC expect SaaS to continue to dominate Public IT Cloud services, largely because the majority of customer demand is at the application level. But while IaaS is predicted to be the second largest Public IT cloud services category heading into 2018, it s PaaS and cloud storage that will be the fastest growing categories driven by major upticks in developer cloud services adoption and big data solutions respectively [see Figure 3]. IaaS may still be the fastest growing segment of Cloud computing, but it s PaaS that will allow developers to create new cloud-aware applications with the potential to transform both their own business and that of their customers and their end users too. Figure 3: Worldwide Public IT Cloud Services Spending by Segment (in $ billions) 140 $56.6 $ Platform as a Service Software as a Service Infrastructure as a Service Source: IDC To find out more about The Bunker s services: www Phone: Fax:

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