Why All the Fuss Over PaaS?

Software-as-a-Service has been the most popular component of cloud computing since the market first began to gain notoriety, and all signs point to this segment holding on to the largest share for years to come. However, in more recent years, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service have started to accelerate at a faster pace from a growth and adoption standpoint than SaaS, as organizations work on more wide-reaching overhauls of IT frameworks. 

IT service delivery and management have been two of the more important conversations going on in the average boardroom, and the cloud has presented companies with opportunities to significantly advance these aspects of operations into the modern era at a lower cost than would have been possible in the past. When it comes to today's IT processes and service delivery, applications are likely the first assets that come to mind, especially in the mobile-driven workplaces that are present in virtually every industry. 

Whereas only a few years ago companies would provision applications and software in an out-of-the-box model, unless they had talent on hand that could code and program in-house, more businesses are now looking for custom and highly tailored options to align more strategically with objectives. PaaS as a whole has helped to expand the volume and diversity of companies that are capable of managing, manipulating and developing applications, as it is a more affordable and intuitive replacement for traditional equipment. 

Now, the PaaS market has been disrupted by ServiceNow's CreateNow platform, which allows businesses with virtually no experience in coding and programming to develop and manipulate their own applications, leveling the playing field significantly. With apps being used as the fuel on which organizations run in the modern era, it should not be surprising that PaaS is such a hot market in corporate IT from investment and deployment standpoints. 

Inside the numbers
PaaS is fast-growing and already robust, as Talkin' Cloud reported late last month that MarketsandMarkets estimates the industry to reach a total global size of $7 billion within the next four years. The source pointed out that this would represent a compound annual growth rate of more than 32 percent, which is much faster than SaaS and essentially level with IaaS.

"Also many small players specializing in providing PaaS solutions have emerged and made the market so dynamic and competitive," the study's authors explained, according to Talkin' Cloud. "This trend has benefited most of the application users and has increased the demand for PaaS on various sectors."

First, looking at this growth through a broad-angle lens, the cloud is simply taking up more corporate investment with the passing of each year, as fewer companies purchase traditional IT frameworks and equipment. Secondly, more companies are working to optimize their ITSM strategies, especially with a focus on mobile, and this demands increased fluidity and agility in technology spending and delivery. 

PaaS offers this efficiency and flexibility almost directly off the bat, as companies will be paying for the technologies on a pay-per-use model rather than facing large upfront costs. With all this in mind, market revenue growth for PaaS is likely to accelerate even more in the coming years, especially as more decision-makers recognize the value of the solutions. 

The road ahead
Although virtually all experts agree that PaaS is going to grow with respect to market size and adoption rates in the coming years, some are increasingly intrigued by the ways in which SaaS and IaaS interact with platforms. Brandon Butler, writing for NetworkWorld, once explained that the convergence of each component of the cloud has come with the potential to hinder growth in the PaaS market, as companies begin to leverage integrated tools that come with a breadth of features. 

Citing sentiments from an analyst from 451 Research, Butler explained that PaaS' future might be contained within IaaS, with the latter including application management, development and delivery components rather than coming as two entirely separate deployments. 

To clear the air right from the start, it is unlikely that this type of overhaul would come to fruition in the near future, especially as IaaS and PaaS are still relatively new markets in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, one of the most advantageous aspects of the cloud is the diversity between services, and the fact that many companies have been focusing their efforts on one aspect rather than the full breadth. 

If corporate technology demand has shown nothing else in the past few years, it is that companies want customized and specialized options rather than broader, less unique ones. This is why PaaS will likely continue to act as a strong investment in its own right, with breakthrough providers such as CreateNow leading the way toward even more impressive capabilities in the coming years. 

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