Hosted Private Platform-as-a-Service: Chances and opportunities for ISVs and enterprises

December 16, 2013 |

While platform-as-a-service (PaaS) has repeatedly predicted a rosy future, the service model not really gains momentum. During conversations you find out, that PaaS is likely be used for prototyping. But when it comes to production environments it is switched to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings. The main reason for this is the level of control. This is the main selection criterion for respectively against a PaaS. IaaS just offers more opportunities to influence the virtual infrastructure, software, and services. In contrast using a PaaS you have to develop against a standardized API, which offers not a lot liberty. Especially for ISVs (Independent Software Vendor) and enterprises a PaaS offers some capabilities to comfortable serve developers with resources. Who has no trust in a public PaaS can also access so-called Hosted Private PaaS.

Platform-as-a-Service

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is the middle layer of the cloud computing service model and goes one step further as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). A PaaS is responsible to provide a transparent development environment. Here the provider serves a platform on which web-applications can be developed, tested and hosted. Afterwards the applications are running on the infrastructure of the provider using its resources. Thereby the complete lifecycle of an application can be managed. The services on the provider’s platform are accessed using its APIs. The benefits, especially for small companies, exist to reduce the development infrastructure to a minimum. They only need a computer, a web browser, maybe a local IDE, a data connection and their knowledge to develop the application. The rest is part of the provider who is responsible for the infrastructure (OS, webserver, runtime environments, etc.).

Platform as a Service
Source: Cloud Computing mit der Microsoft Plattform, Microsoft Press PreView 1-2009

Hosted Private Platform-as-a-Service

Hosted Private Platform-as-a-Services (Hosted PaaS) converts PaaS into a dedicated and by a provider-managed alternative. It is especially attractive to enterprises that try to avoid the public approach (shared infrastructure, multi-tenancy) but do not own the resources and knowledge to provide their developers a true PaaS within the own infrastructure. In this case, they can access provider who offer them an exclusive PaaS in a reserved environment. The advantage is that the customer can use the hosted private PaaS exactly as a public PaaS but within a non-shared infrastructure, which is located in the data center of the provider.

Another advantage of a hosted PaaS is the professional services the vendor directly includes to help its customers migrating the application onto the PaaS or develop them from scratch. The concept is comparable to the managed clouds respectively business clouds in the IaaS area. (http://clouduser.de/analysen/die-bedeutung-der-managed-cloud-fuer-unternehmen-22699) This is interesting for enterprises as well as ISVs, who until now, has not much or no experiences developing cloud applications or do not trust public cloud offerings like Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Windows Azure, Heroku or Force.com

A sign that public PaaS in Germany is not gaining momentum, is the fact that Germany’s very first PaaS provider cloudControl encapsulated its public PaaS into the Application Lifecycle Engine to offer it as a private PaaS for enterprises and webhoster (white label) to empower them running a PaaS in a self-managed infrastructure. In addition it’s possible to span a bridge to a hybrid PaaS.

The managed IaaS provider Pironet NDH is the first German provider who has jumped on the hosted private PaaS train. The company from cologne tries to offer ISVs and SaaS provider a platform including professional services to let them provide their web applications from a German data center. Besides .NET, PHP, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, node.js or Go, Pironet NDH offers a complete Windows Azure PaaS support, which is known from Microsoft’s Windows Azure public cloud. With that, Azure developed applications can also be operated within the German Pironet NDH data center. Both PaaS offerings are building separately. The polyglot PaaS (multi-language) based on a RedHat OpenShift implementation. The Azure PaaS based on the Windows Azure Pack. Even if Pironet NDH mostly focus on one on one business relationships, they also start a public PaaS alternative in Q1/Q2 2014, but which are just market secondary.

In particular at traditional ISVs, Pironet NDH and its offering to preach to the choir. In the future its customers will more and more ask for web applications, which will become a big challenge for one or the other ISV. Amount other things, these will profit from professional services to deliver existing and new applications faster to the market.

Public cloud provider need to react

The „hosted private“ trend comes from the IaaS area, where currently also Hosted Private Clouds have a high momentum for managed respectively business clouds. This for a good reason. Especially the data privacy topic pushes ISVs and enterprises into the arms of provider with dedicated solutions. In addition, customers are willing to pay more for higher security, data control and consulting.

Public cloud provider needs to react to face customer requirements. With Salesforce, the first big public cloud player drops its pants down. First, a quote by Joachim Schreiner, Managing Director, Salesforce Germany: “Private clouds are no clouds. This is nothing else like an application service provider contract, which already had been closed in the year 2000, when the necessary bandwidth had been available.” Apparently, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff sees this quite different. Eventually, the cash till keeps ringing when the customers are satisfied. For this, Salesforce introduced its „Salesforce Superpod“ during the Dreamforce 2013. This is a dedicated cloud based on HPs Converged Infrastructure. Thus, in principle nothing else like a hosted private cloud.

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Category: Analysis

About the Author ()

Rene Buest is Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, covering cloud computing and IT infrastructure. He is member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network, top cloud computing blogger in Germany and one of the worldwide top 50 bloggers in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter. For more than 16 years he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies. Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional cloud computing and technology articles, speaker and participant of experts rounds. On CloudUser.de he writes about topics from the fields of cloud computing, it-infrastructures, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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