Gartner Reveals Platform as a Service (PaaS) Forecast

Gartner, the world’s leading IT research and advisory company, has addressed the Platform as a service (PaaS) trend in the Gartner Special Report, “PaaS 2012: Tactical Risks and Strategic Rewards.”

PaaS is a commonly used reference to the layer of cloud technology architecture that contains all application infrastructure services, or ‘middleware’. It is the technology that intermediates between the underlying system infrastructure (operating systems, network, storage, and so forth) and the overlaying application software. PaaS facilitates the deployment of applications without the expense and complexity of purchasing and maintaining the underlying hardware, software and provisioning hosting capabilities. The facilities required to support the building and delivery of web applications and services are available entirely from the Internet. The technology services that form part of a full-scope, comprehensive PaaS include application development tools, database management systems, portal products, and business process management suites, among many others, all of which are offered as a service.

“With large and growing vendor investment in PaaS, the market is on the cusp of several years of strategic growth, leading to innovation and likely breakthroughs in technology and business use of all of cloud computing,” said Yefim Natis, Vice President and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Users and vendors of enterprise IT software solutions that are not yet engaged with PaaS must begin building expertise in PaaS or face tough challenges from competitors in the coming years.”

In the previous year’s PaaS Special Report, Gartner analysts said that 2011 would be a pivotal year for the PaaS market. As Gartner predicted, the broad vendor acceptance and adoption in 2011 amounted to a sound industry endorsement of PaaS as an alternative to the traditional middleware deployment options. In 2012, the PaaS market is at its early stage of growth and, as such, does not yet have well-established industry leaders, best practices or dedicated standards.

“While there are clear risks associated with the use of services in the new and largely immature PaaS market, the risk of avoiding the PaaS market is equally high,” said Yefim Natis. “The right strategy for most mainstream IT organizations and software vendors is to begin building familiarity with the new cloud computing opportunities by adopting some PaaS services now, albeit with the understanding of their limitations and with the expectation of ongoing change in the market offerings and use patterns.”

Gartner anticipates that PaaS offerings will become widely available in late 2012 and by the end of 2013, all major software vendors will have competitive offerings in the market. By 2016, it is envisaged that competition among the PaaS vendors will produce new models, new standards and new software market leaders.