Trend Three: Greater Agility
CloudBees' Harris pointed out that PaaS also complements another trend that's been sweeping through enterprise development shops for some time: Agile development.
"I think you will see it become much more obvious that platform as a service is the yin to Agile's yang," he predicted. One of the key tenets of Agile development philosophy is continuous deployment, something the cloud makes much easier. With PaaS, "Agile development become Agile delivery also," Harris explained.
"This in the end empowers developers to drive business value for companies," added Harris.
Trend Four: Looking Beyond Java
All this explosive growth in Java cloud development may have another result -- highlighting Java's inadequacies for cloud computing. Many developers say that Java, particularly Java EE, is not well adapted for use in the cloud. "It's almost like Java needs to be pulled back into the present from the past," said Joergensen. "We believe that [Java EE] won't translate to the cloud. Either people are just slowly going to stop writing Web applications in Java and move on to other languages, or Java needs to change."
While he says that Java PaaS offerings serve an important role for moving existing applications to the cloud, Gartner's Natis encourages developers to look to other programming languages for new projects. "If you want to create cloud-native applications, I believe they should look beyond Java," he said.
On the other hand, Joergensen believes that Java has a place in the cloud, but only if Java developers change the way they do things. "It's not very hard to write a self-contained or containerless Web application in Java and get all of the productivity benefits out of it that you see from Ruby on Rails or other development styles. It's not very hard, and we think there is an opportunity for a switch in the Java community," he said.
For enterprise developers, the choice of whether to stick with Java or transition to other languages is just one decision of many they'll need to make as they hone their cloud computing strategy. The coming year will be critical both for Java PaaS vendors, which will compete to see who will dominate the market, and for enterprises, which will face the challenge of making difficult choices in a rapidly evolving landscape.