Oracle plans to announce a new platform as a service (PaaS) that will allow customers to build Java applications in the cloud, according to a report in the New York Times.
The move would be a big first one for the company’s new, yet very familiar, chief technology officer: Larry Ellison. The Times quotes newly-mined co-CEO Mark Hurd as saying:
“Larry will announce on Sunday night our Platform as a Service,” Mr. Hurd said. “Java and the database will be offered to customers with a chance to build cloud applications.”
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Sunday is the kickoff keynote of Oracle Openworld, the company’s annual conference. Hurd tells The Times that Oracle wants to go on the offensive in the cloud. Announcing a new PaaS offering is one way to do that.
The PaaS market is quickly becoming a crowded place. Many of the major cloud providers are focusing on this segment of the market. IBM has BlueMix, which is based on the open source Cloud Foundry project. Red Hat’s OpenShift is a PaaS for building applications. Microsoft’s Azure cloud is a PaaS, in addition to being an IaaS while Google has its Application Engine PaaS. AWS does not call its cloud a PaaS, but it has PaaS-like services in AWS Elastic BeanStalk. HP has even hinted at exploring Cloud Foundry in its Helion cloud.
The PaaS market has been somewhat of a fickle venture for cloud providers thusfar though. Although small in comparison to the IaaS and SaaS markets, it has recently gained considerable buzz as some of these big-name tech companies have come out to support it.
Fundamentally, PaaS is an application development and lifecycle tool. IaaS provides access to infrastructure, like virtual machines, storage and databases while SaaS providers offer applications as a service. PaaS is a platform for building, hosting and managing applications.
The market was initially occupied by a variety of small companies that had platforms for building applications in specific programming languages. Then, many of these platforms became polyglot, meaning they support many languages. Companies like CloudBees, EngineYard, Active State, Pivotal and Apprenda all played in this market. CloudBees recently announced its intention to focus on continuous integration tool Jenkins instead of the PaaS market. Pivotal, Apprenda and Active State are still battling it out on the private PaaS market.
Now, Oracle wants to jump into this market too. It seems like a natural move for the company to offer a cloud-based platform for building and hosting new Java applications. But, the while the market is still young, it is already crowded. Perhaps these are the types of moves that are needed to bring PaaS into the mainstream though.