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Verizon cozies up with Cloud Foundry as PaaS market heats up

With IDC predicting PaaS to be a $14B market, vendors are jumping in

By , Network World
November 12, 2013 04:49 PM ET

Network World - Verizon, which just recently launched a major overhaul to its cloud platform, today announced plans to integrate the VMware/EMC-backed Cloud Foundry open source platform as a service (PaaS) initiative into its offering.

Here’s why that news is important: the PaaS market is getting awfully crowded, awfully fast.

[BACKGROUND: PaaS market to reach $14B by 2017, IDC says]

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 PaaSs 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 act as a portal to access infrastructure from Amazon, OpenStack or other IaaSs.

IDC further legitimized the market recently when it predicted that it could reach $14 billion by 2017. That’s only a small chunk of the nearly $200 billion-a-year industry Gartner predicts the cloud market to be by that time though.

Still, the promise of the PaaS market has gotten the attention of IaaS and SaaS vendors, many of whom have rolled out PaaS-like features to their offerings, or plan to soon. A variety of other companies are looking to stake a claim in this nascent industry too. In recent weeks we’ve had news such as:

-- Just this week Red Hat announced features and reduced pricing for its PaaS offering named OpenShift, this comes weeks after it rolled out a series of new partnerships for its PaaS, including with open source containerization platform Docker.

-- 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 has committed to integrating and helping develop open source Cloud Foundry, which is currently being backed by Pivotal - a spinout from EMC and VMware

-In June, CenturyLink/Savvis bought PaaS provider AppFog  

[MORE PaaS: 10 Most powerful PaaS companies]

All these announcements came when the PaaS market was already a crowded field. Major IaaS and SaaS providers are already in this market. Salesforce.com, for example, has one of the strongest PaaS plays with its Force.com PaaS. It’s a lightweight application development platform that is meant to be a tool for building business process apps - like those for an HR department - that integrate with customer data that’s already in Salesforce.com’s cloud, primarily its popular namesake CRM tool. For more technical developers, Salesforce.com bought Heroku, which is another application development platform.

Big IaaS companies are considering a play in this market as well. Amazon Web Services, the leading IaaS provider has PaaS-like features for its cloud, but has come short of offering a full-fledged PaaS. The company is hosting its second annual customer conference this week in Las Vegas named re:Invent and there is expected to be news from the company. But, it already has features like an array of software development kits (SDK), and Elastic BeanStalk, among other tools, which help customers automate the deployment of applications on AWS infrastructure. Microsoft and Google began their cloud offerings with PaaSs (Microsoft with Azure and Google with App Engine), then expanded into the IaaS market.

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