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The terms Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS), Software as a Service(SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) have become almost synonymous with cloud computing. A new Forrester report on Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms now tells us that these buckets just might be old school. Vendors are no longer focusing on a specific category of cloud services, but instead looking towards the need of the customer to create their offering.
The classification of cloud service vendors meant that a business needed to make different choices for computing or storage services as IaaS, the platform for application development as PaaS and also for hosting the application as SaaS. As capabilities of the vendors improved, and they understood the needs of the customer better, it began to make sense to offer a combination of services. For example, Salesforce that was earlier considered a provider for SaaS, now also allows building of applications in their cloud.
Needs of the Developer
An emerging group of developers has begun to favor the graphical user interface as a quick and easy way of building apps. This means that a readymade platform that provides a faster turnaround time would be the more attractive option for them. Salesforce ranks highly in this category and has been deemed ideal for this “rapid developer” group by Forrester.
Other developers who are coders or development pros might prefer platforms that started as IaaS providers, such as AWS or Microsoft. These would enable them to be better connected to the underlying infrastructure to give them more control of the inner workings of the platform. The Salesforce Heroku platform scores highly for specific development needs as well.
High need for Innovation
The cloud computing market is constantly evolving and it is essential for the vendors or providers to keep reinventing their offering. If they stick to their comfort zone, they are sure to be left behind. This is the major reason why these categories or buckets are not defining the services available in the market any more. They do still provide guidelines for the kind of services provided, but they no longer categorize the providers in entirety.
Increased importance of Apps
According to Forrester, clouds have predominantly become a platform for building apps, which is why IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are not a preferred way of classifying them any more. Organizations should choose a vendor based on the needs of the business, and of their developers’ as well. They would also need to consider the direction they would take in the future and plan accordingly. The report assesses that in the considered period, it was the big entities like AWS, Microsoft and Salesforce that proved to be the favored choices for organizations.
Security and Compliance
The popular platforms score higher also because the requirements of security and compliance are well taken care of by them. When evaluating a new player in the market, this is an aspect that cannot be taken lightly. Along with all other promises of an ideal platform for app development and the required infrastructure services, the integrity of data and other security and compliance measures need to be in place.
The ease of integrating the existing systems and platforms into your new solution is another factor that plays a role in evaluating the platform or vendor chosen by your organization. It will play a significant role in your final turnaround time or time to market. With the high sense of competition in the apps arena, where getting your product to the final consumer quickly is essential, this step could be a deal-breaker if not considered seriously.
Moving to the cloud has become a familiar phenomenon in most organizations and this recent insight from Forrester may have made the search for the ideal vendor much easier. Decision makers in businesses including the CIO can now focus on the big picture to make the choice regarding cloud service providers.