Will PaaS Solve All Developer Ills?

As companies increasingly move towards cloud computing, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings may help simplify the task of creating cloud-based custom applications. Bob Bickel, an advisor at CloudBees and chairman at eXo, explains, “PaaS is for developers what virtualization was for system administrators. Virtualization let sys admins forget about the underlying servers and to really share resources a lot more effectively. PaaS will be the same, and in a long-term vision really supplants lower layers like OS and virtualization as being the key platform custom apps and SaaS are deployed on.”

MuleSoft’s Ross Mason adds. “With PaaS, [developers] can now spin up their newest applications in minutes without going through the usual rigmarole of installing database, application runtime and other third-party software, before writing a line of code. A PaaS also means that patches and upgrades are managed by the PaaS provider, freeing the developer to just think about one thing–their app.”

However, PaaS also presents one big hurdle–the potential for vendor lock-in. “There is a strong danger of lock-in with most PAAS offerings,” said another expert. “To avoid lock-in, you must be able to write your app in the framework/language of your choice and deploy on the cloud of your choice. If you can only write to a proprietary API that is only available in one PAAS, you can never move your app somewhere else since those APIs don’t exist elsewhere. Furthermore, you can’t bring existing apps into that PaaS since they weren’t written for those proprietary APIs.”

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