20 January 2012 – It would be fair to say that in the last year the dominant form of cloud computing has been infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). As popular as those services have proven to be, the odds are good that IaaS is not going to be the dominant form of cloud computing going forward. The reason for this is that IaaS still leaves much of the responsibility for managing the software environment in the cloud in the hands of local IT people. That’s appealing to a subset of customers, but in reality most cloud computing customers are looking for a more turnkey experience.
Obviously, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings go a long way towards delivering that experience. But PaaS has been slow to catch on because most of the offerings to date have been tied to specific application development languages and associated middleware platforms. In effect, vendors have treated PaaS as an opportunity to extend long-standing platform wars into the cloud. Customers, however, have grown weary of being caught up in such conflicts.