IBM made a number of cloud announcements today, advancing the capabilities for small and large businesses alike in the area of cloud computing. If you read through the announcements, you will find a new set of capabilities called “IBM SmartCloud Application Services.” These new capabilities for IBM SmartCloud provide, in essence, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution.
Platform as a service is a key element of a broad-based cloud strategy. A PaaS solution provides a different set of tradeoffs between total control and simplified deployment.
For example, in a traditional application development and deployment model, the application owner defines, configures, and manages all layers of the requisite IT infrastructure – from servers and storage to databases and operating systems. With the advent of the cloud computing delivery model, this was greatly simplified. The operation system and hardware infrastructure is virtualized and this infrastructure is delivered “as a service.” There are a number of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions available today, including IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
At the other end of the spectrum are software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, of which IBM also is a prominent vendor. SaaS solutions deliver the entire application from the cloud (such as cloud-based email, or analytics), and the consumer of the application only pays for usage through some type of subscription-based pricing model.
Where does PaaS fit in? PaaS technologies fill a void between a basic IaaS infrastructure and a full SaaS stack. It allows the application owners to still own and deploy their application, without having to worry about managing the IT dependencies underneath. For example, if you are a Java developer, you don’t have to worry about installing, patching, configuring, monitoring, load balancing, and generally managing your middleware and runtime environment. You create your Java application to the specifications of the cloud platform and deploy it to the cloud.
Why is this important? A good PaaS infrastructure moves the ball forward in allowing IT to bring more business agility to an enterprise. Creating “born on PaaS” applications deliver a much greater “Time to Value” (TTV) because the application can not only be created faster but also deployed faster. A PaaS solution reduces the amount of moving parts in the infrastructure – the unique layers and components that need to be tested together. A standardized, highly scalable, self-managing delivery platform is a huge advantage for the application developer and enterprise application deployment.
IBM SmartCloud Application Services provides all this, and more.
Included in this layer of IBM SmartCloud are five key areas of services:
- Application Lifecycle
- Application Resources
- Application Environment
- Application Management
This combination of services provides a robust platform for creating and delivering the next generation of born-on-the-cloud applications. I hope you check it out!