Crossing IT Chasms with Private Platform as a Service

Cloud computing has the wind in its sails. Research group Gartner predicts revenue from Platform as a Service (PaaS) will grow 33 percent this year. Welcomed by both PaaS vendors and the venture capitalists who back them, the announcement confirms that
enterprise adoption of PaaS is here to stay. Today, PaaS is considered a best practice, and is an integral part of any cloud deployment strategy. Even though PaaS skeptics still contend that this is just marketing hype, Gartner’s predictions are well-founded. The key factor driving PaaS’ success is its unprecedented ability to bridge the great technology divides that have plagued IT departments for a long time.

IT Chasms Defined

When it comes to making informed choices, enterprise IT departments face major chasms. From the boardroom to the beer fridge, everybody is familiar with the endless discussions among developers, DevOps, CIOs, CTOs, and IT managers about what operating system and language to adopt. In the past, it often meant that the company committed to one or two programming languages, a single web framework, and one operating system, either Windows or Linux. All IT projects had to fit into those choices, and sink or swim.

Then along came upstart hipster languages and framework combinations such as Java & Play, Node.js, Clojure, Ruby/Rails, Python/Django, PHP, and a myriad of others that joined forces to override IT practices. The walls started to crumble, and IT managers realized they needed to find an effective way to address the chasms. PaaS is the bridge that makes chasm-crossing easy.

Windows vs. Linux: Marrying the Opposites

In the real world, enterprises should not be forced to choose one operating system over
another. Rather, they should have the flexibility to run Linux applications and Windows
applications as needed. The advent of cloud technologies now makes it possible to bridge the once insurmountable operating system chasm. By adding a PaaS layer, IT departments can run both operating systems within the same cloud. Because a private Platform as a Service such as Stackato has multi-stack capabilities, it enables IT staff to manage both stacks in a coherent and unified manner. By including support for deploying applications to either .NET or Linux stacks within the same PaaS cluster, multi-stack PaaS technology allows DevOps to manage and scale disparate applications across stacks regardless of operating system, and across clouds.

The Polyglot PaaS: Ending the Language Wars Once and for AllDevelopers and DevOps have always engaged in acrimonious arguments over the right programming language to use, “Java vs .Net,” “Dynamic vs. Static,” “New Vs. Old,” “Enterprise vs. Hipster Upstarts,” etc. This is more than a question of principle. Developers fight for the
right to select the most current tool for a specific project, rather than being forced to put a square peg in a round hole and deliver mobile applications using frameworks dating from the eighties.

IT departments have often resisted developers’ aspirations for more language flexibility, arguing that introducing new languages adds complexity and requires more resources, tools, libraries, and test strategies. The rise of the Polyglot PaaS now allows all languages to be on speaking terms, and significantly reduces the complexity of the deployment phase. Multiple teams used to spend days or weeks assembling stacks to support each language. With a PaaS, stacks are created automatically in minutes or seconds.

Public or Private: Unifying the Cloud

One of the new chasms developing around the boardroom table and within IT departments is about choosing the right cloud. Building a private cloud offers enhanced security, compliance, control, and less exposure to risk. Outsourcing to a public cloud has many benefits as well, including availability, and lower capital costs. Enterprises are left to decide what cloud is best, public, private, or hybrid.

A PaaS layer such as Stackato instantly resolves this dilemma, and provides a secured,
containerized, common runtime environment for all applications that effectively insulates deployment from the vagaries of multiple clouds, operating systems, load balancers, and firewall rules, to name a few. A private Paas bridges the gap between public and private clouds, and spans across any cloud type, including OpenStack, VMWare, CloudStack, AWS, or HPCloud.

For private PaaS adopters, the option to use a hybrid cloud finally becomes real. By deploying Stackato clusters in multiple clouds, applications can be deployed and managed on the basis of the company’s specific policies for starting, monitoring, and modifying the environment from a single management console.

The PaaS Highway

The adoption of a new product or technology usually follows a classic “bell curve” cycle. The innovators lead the way, followed by the early adopters, the early and late majority, and the laggards who close the march. The PaaS technology breaks the rule, with a compressed adoption lifecycle. Addressing real industry needs, PaaS takes a highway rather than a bridge to cross IT chasms.

About Diane Mueller

Diane Mueller is a bit of a PaaS Queen & the Cloud Ecosystem Evangelist for Red Hat's OpenShift Origin the Open Source Private PaaS. She is a leading advocate for Open Cloud technologies, has authored numerous articles & white papers on emerging technologies and can often be found pontificating on various and sundry dev & open source topics at conferences ranging from OSCON, PyCon to CloudExpo, CloudConnect. You can follow her on twitter at @pythondj