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What Is PaaS All About? - Part 1

It's about abstraction

This is the first part of the multi-part series on "What is PaaS all about?"

Let’s start by looking at the “Platform” story prior to Cloud. Enterprise IT did a lot of heavy lifting. They handcrafted the platform by combining various products such as App Servers, Web Servers, Databases, Middleware, Integration Servers, Portal Servers, and Workflow Engines.

Pre Cloud EraNot only did Enterprises IT create a unique combination for them, they also ended up redundantly deploying it for various projects within the enterprise. There was no common or central runtime platform, although they always intended to create one. In most cases, it was an approach or a blueprint.

A runtime platform was constructed every time. as per the blueprint. for every project. Looking back it sounds draconian but that’s what everyone did happily and some of them continue to it  today – not realizing that’s exactly what PaaS does. For any enterprise that's not in the business of creating and selling software, it doesn't justify internal development when an off-the-shelf option exists and especially for platform software.

Platforms on the Cloud

Platform on the cloudAs we see in this figure, all the different technology pieces of the platform have already come together as a pre-integrated stack. There is a tectonic shift in the value proposition of ‘Cloud Platforms.’ This value proposition revolves around ‘Abstraction’ and giving up the fine-grain control. In the case of platforms like OrangeScape and Force.com – it actually goes beyond the infrastructure or middleware level abstraction, to the ‘application’ level abstraction.

All these technological advancements coupled with delivery model and business model innovation by providing it ‘as-a-service’ and ‘pay-by-the-drink’ brings in a tremendous amount of disruption. This presents an opportunity to move away from large cap technology expenses and to align technology costs directly with business growth. And, evidently, IT leaders need to watch out for this huge shift.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series – How convergence of various technologies creates a perfect storm of Cloud.

More Stories By Suresh Sambandam

After an initial entrepreneurial stint for three years at the age of 19, Suresh Sambandam went on to work at Hewlett-Packard. Later, Suresh joined Selectica and rose to senior position, as Director of e-Insurance product division in a short-span. The e-Insurance division and its products were later acquired by Accenture. Suresh is a technocrat specializing in product engineering with expertise in software architecture for complex enterprise applications, inference engines, configuration engines, rule-based computing and enterprise middleware. He has applied for multiple patents. Suresh is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology startups and spends a significant amount of personal time in the start-up ecosystem in Chennai. Suresh is a member of the National Council for Emerging Companies Forum and also a core committee member of Product Forum at NASSCOM. He also does mentoring for budding entrepreneurs at IIT Bombay, E-Cell. Suresh is a regular speaker at various industry forums & academic institutions.

Suresh is the Founder & CEO of OrangeScape. OrangeScape is a platform (PaaS - Platform as a Service) to develop process oriented business applications that can be deployed "On Cloud" and "On Premise". OrangeScape supports platforms like Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure as cloud deployment option and Microsoft .Net and J2EE as on-premise deployment options. OrangeScape has 50+ customers including global brands like Unilever, Citibank, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Fullterton, etc. OrangeScape in the only Indian company has been featured in the PaaS research reports of Forrester and Gartner. OrangeScape has been featured as 'India's Rising Tech Stars' by Forbes(US) magazine. OrangeScape was showcased as one of the 3 emerging product companies in India by Nasscom and was also awarded 'Top IT Innovations' for 2 consecutive years.

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