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Platform-as-a-Service Offerings Grow in the Cloud

Most PaaS are a cloud-based application development platform used to build apps that are hosted in the cloud

Add another fill-in-the-blank-as-a-service that's making waves in the cloud.

Verizon, which just recently launched a major overhaul to its cloud platform, announced plans to integrate the VMware/EMC-backed Cloud Foundry open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) initiative into its offering, according to an article on Networkworld.com.

Here's why that news is important: the PaaS market is getting awfully crowded, awfully fast. Seen by many as a secondary player in the cloud compared to the much larger and more robust IaaS and SaaS markets, the PaaS industry has in recent months become a focus for many of the leading cloud computing vendors. PaaS could be an important initiative in the cloud because of what it enables.

Most PaaS are a cloud-based application development platform used to build apps that are hosted in the cloud. Others view the PaaS market, especially open source PaaS tools like Cloud Foundry and others, as being an intermediary that acts as a portal to access infrastructure from Amazon, OpenStack or other IaaS. More vendors are getting in on the PaaS action.

Not to miss out on the offering, Rackspace announced a new open-source initiative named Project Solum for the OpenStack community that will also likely serve as the basis for its PaaS offering, and be a competitor to Cloud Foundry.

IBM Decides to Go MIA ASAP over AWS-CIA Deal
Abbreviations aside, the battle between two tech giants to build a cloud-computing infrastructure for the CIA and the broader intelligence community appears to be over.

IBM, which saw its successful bid protest of Amazon Web Services' $600 million deal with the CIA overturned in early October by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, has withdrawn the injunctive action it filed immediately after the ruling by Judge Thomas Wheeler, according to an article on federal technology site FCW.com.

Big Blue asked the court to halt contract work between the CIA and AWS while it considered an appeal. The government claimed in a subsequent court filing that an injunction and further delay on the contract would be harmful to national security. While IBM is not budging on its contention that it offers a superior product, an appeal of Wheeler's decision now appears unlikely, based on IBM's withdrawal. However, the company has not entirely ruled it out.

"In light of the government's recent submissions emphasizing its need to move forward on the contract, IBM has withdrawn its motion," IBM spokesperson Clint Roswell told FCW. "IBM maintains its position that the GAO's findings were appropriate."

Greener Cloud Computing Options
More options for more environmentally sensitive cloud systems have many in IT doing the hippie dance. Well not quite, but IBM has patented a solution that it claims is a "green button" that distributes a cloud service to lower power systems to help save environmental costs.

"We have invented a way for cloud service providers to more efficiently manage their data centers and, as a result, significantly reduce their environmental impact," said Keith Walker, IBM master inventor.

Walker offered more details about the idea behind the patent, stating that there would be an "environmentally friendly option" on the CSP's setup wizard.

"It's like purchasing a computer - you have the choice of buying a high speed hard drive, but do you need it for what you actually plan to do with the computer?" Walker said, according to an article on Cloudcomputingnews.net.

"Would something less powerful, but more energy efficient, meet your needs? Certain cloud services, or tasks within a service, don't need a great deal of power, or can be done during off-peak hours," he added.

This, of course, is in a wider context the original thinking behind cloud computing - companies no longer buying huge amounts of IT resource for what they think they'll need, preferably scaling as needed.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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