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Who's Managing Your PaaS Apps?

The current focus on PaaS development stacks is ignoring the management factor

Sam Charrington recently posted a nice article called The Disintegration of PaaS. In it, he describes how early PaaS providers (PaaS 1.0) locked developers into their stacks and essentially prevented the movement of these apps onto other PaaS platforms. Sam also described the coming of "PaaS 2.0," a more open platform that allows different development stack modules for databases, application servers, etc., to be included within your application stack. PaaS 2.0 providers will also cultivate the community of tools that can be used within a deployment stack. The hope is that PaaS 2.0 will level the playing field and focus these providers on what matters most - service quality and customer service.

That takes me to the part that no one is really talking about when it comes to PaaS - the management aspect. Up to this point, we have more often talked about the development side (pre-production). But, PaaS then hosts the application created. How will organizations dictate the SLAs to be in place when the application is live for others to consume (i.e. scale-up, scale-down, etc.)? How will they relay their DR requirements, or moreover how will PaaS providers allow for different RTO/RPO strategies?

In order for PaaS to live up to its hype of becoming mainstream and making it ever easier for consumers to use the cloud, providers need a mechanism for capturing an application's service level requirements. Building an app and placing it in the cloud is one thing, but if we actually want to allow IT to leverage the cloud there are best practices and specific business policies that need to be communicated in some way. Without this capability, PaaS will only be used for non-mission-critical workloads.

This is where cloud management solutions come in. For IaaS, we have talked about how cloud management solutions have helped to deploy and manage applications and workloads in the clouds. I think without these tools, PaaS players will not be able to provide the second part of their offering. PaaS providers need to leverage these mainstream tools and provide some interface to them.

As I write about this, I am also thinking about how we are further validating the need for an application-centric approach.  As PaaS adoption continues it will become more apparent that it is not about provisioning and managing servers or groups of servers in the cloud (infrastructure-centric), but rather the application or service. We need context! Your customers care about consuming your applications and services, and expect a certain level of service; they don't care about servers. The notion of PaaS is to further hide the IaaS complexity behind the main goal: build and deploy apps. At Kaavo, we have always preached the application-centric approach to our solutions, because we have recognized that at the end of the day it's all about the apps. We were probably early to talk about this back in 2007, but now I think is the time for this approach to take center stage.

To learn more about the application-centric approach, please go and download Kaavo's new eBook on the topic.

More Stories By Sam Somashekar

Sam Somashekar is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Kaavo, a leader in application-centric cloud management solutions. In this role, Sam is responsible for leading all marketing and business development initiatives at Kaavo. These include driving strategic partnerships, product marketing, product management, thought leadership and industry presence.

Sam has over 18 years of experience demonstrating success in enterprise product management and development, market research and strategy, marketing and business development. Prior to Kaavo, he held various senior management roles at public and private companies, including Senior Director of Product Management at CA Technologies (a leading IT management software and solutions company). Sam has created and managed market-leading solutions within key industry areas such as cloud computing, data center automation, service automation, and green IT. Throughout his career Sam has provided leadership and vision to increase both top line and bottom line growth, maximizing profitability while addressing challenging and realistic problems.

Sam holds a BA in Computer Science from New York University and is Pragmatic Marketing Certified. He is on the board of AFCOM’s Data Center Institute (DCI), and has authored several articles and whitepapers on the subject of enterprise IT management. Sam has also been quoted in articles appearing in leading industry publications such as InfoWorld and Computerworld and has been a regular speaker at industry events.

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