Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Mark Hauser, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Cloud Computing: Application Services and PaaS

Addressing the service ecosystem in PaaS

One of the first things I learned when I started talking with clients about their plans for platform-based clouds is that there is no such thing as a ‘simple application environment.' Even for the most basic, CRUD-style applications, you can count on there being numerous different components involved in the overall solution. While one may immediately identify application servers, web servers, and databases, it quickly becomes clear that LDAP servers, identify management components, data grids, load balancers, and more are equally important. Indeed, the enterprise application ecosystem is not one where the word ‘simple' is often tossed about.



The inherent complexity of enterprise application environments has had, and will continue to have a significant impact on the design and implementation of many PaaS solutions. In fact, one could argue that the preeminent design point in many PaaS solutions on the market today is rooted in eliminating this complexity. To do this, PaaS solutions attempt to abstract all the way up to the application level. In other words, users supply application artifacts and possibly define application characteristics. From there, it is the job of the PaaS system to handle the underlying application infrastructure, completely absolving the deployer from having to get into the nitty-gritty of the application serving environment.

There is little arguing that this is a notable goal, but the fact is this level of abstraction is not an easy thing for PaaS providers to implement. PaaS solutions have to make a lot of assumptions about what components should be a part of the cloud-based environment as well as how those components should be configured. The bottom line is providers can only do this for so many components, and with that limitation in mind, they often go after the most common pieces of an application environment. That means things like application servers, databases, messaging engines, and authentication systems are often covered directly by the PaaS solution. While those components are definitely a big part of the overall environment, they are far from being everything that is necessary.

As I mentioned earlier, an enterprise application depends on a number of things beyond the core infrastructure in order to function correctly. Many applications need to cache results, depend on identity management capabilities, require load balancing to scale properly, and integrate with ESBs to name but a few things. PaaS solutions may not be able to address everything in terms of what they can deploy and configure, but that does not mean that they can blissfully ignore the large number of services on which applications typically depend. PaaS solutions must address the need to integrate the application environments it deploys with these application services in some kind of way.

There are at least a couple of ways to do this in a way that minimizes the burden on the PaaS provider. First, a PaaS solution can provide the concept of an application service and enable one to deploy an instance of that service. Of course, we are adding to the deployment and configuration responsibility of the PaaS provider, but this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it is handled outside the context of any one application instance. The PaaS solution can simply deploy and minimally configure a service like an ESB, and then push back further configuration duties on the application environment that needs to access the service. It is the job of the PaaS solution to slice up the service such that multiple application environments can make use of it, but it is the job of each application to configure its slice of the service for use.

Alternatively, a PaaS solution can introduce the notion of an external application service. In this scenario, the PaaS system does not need to provide any capability in terms of deploying or configuring the application service. All it needs to do is provide a way for application environments to reference the external service.  This service has already been installed and largely configured, and applications deployed by the PaaS solution just need to indicate a dependency on the service. It is a bonus if the PaaS solution can manage to slice up shares to the external service, but that too could be pushed off on a component or actor external to the PaaS platform. To the PaaS provider, this is clearly the easiest of the two approaches to implement, but it does put more burden on the user to make sure those external services are up and accessible for applications deployed by the PaaS system.

So, which approach is better? While it is tempting to say the first approach is the best that is not necessarily true. It is true that it is the simplest for the user that is deploying applications with service dependencies, but it might not always be the best option for the enterprise. In many cases, enterprises have these application services up and running and they want to leverage that investment from the environments created by their PaaS platform. In that scenario, the second option is probably the preferable approach. To put it simply, there is no way to generalize and pick one approach over the other. The way in which a PaaS solution should handle application service dependencies varies, and ideally, it should be able to handle either style. What is clear though is the fact that there must be some way for PaaS systems to provide or integrate with commonly used application services!

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across supply chain networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost and time for product recall as well as advance trade. Are you curious about Blockchain and how it can provide you with new opportunities for innovation and growth? In her session at 20th Cloud Exp...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, pane...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Twistlock, the leading provider of cloud container security solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Twistlock is the industry's first enterprise security suite for container security. Twistlock's technology addresses risks on the host and within the application of the container, enabling enterprises to consistently enforce security policies, monitor...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...