Forget about IaaS, PaaS and SaaS - it’s all about the platform

Forrester report urges us to reconsider how we think about the cloud


The cloud computing market is typically broken into three buckets: IaaS, SaaS and PaaS. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) represents on-demand compute and storage; Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors host applications in the cloud; and Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud-based application development platform.

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Forrester wants us to blow up the talk of IaaS, SaaS and PaaS. Because the cloud is all about the platform. 

But a recent Forrester’s Wave report throws those buckets out the window. “The popular wisdom that cloud computing comes in three flavors — SaaS, IaaS and PaaS — no longer describes reality,” say some of Forrester’s top cloud analysts, including John Rymer and James Staten (Staten now works at Microsoft). “We find that vendors are blurring the lines between the three cloud-computing categories as they seek to create public cloud platforms that can satisfy the needs of enterprises and widen their appeal to developers.”

+ MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce top Forrester cloud platform list +

IaaS vendors are increasingly catering to application development; PaaS vendors let users control more infrastructure; and SaaS vendors allow customers to build new apps on their software.

So don’t classify clouds based on IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, because they’re all becoming a platform for building apps. There are big differences between Amazon Web Services and Salesforce though. AWS is a hands-on development environment. Salesforce can be a graphic-based one.

Organizations should consider what types of developers and applications they have now, what they want to have in the future, and choose a cloud platform that best suites their needs.

Check out this story, “Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce have the best clouds for building new apps on” for a deeper dive examining what the different types of developers are and how to find the right platform for each developer type.

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