Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Cloud computing, SaaS and PaaS: Understanding the market

Before I look at the main PaaS providers, let’s quickly review the broad market for cloud computing, SaaS and PaaS. Peter Laird from BEA Systems has usefully published a market map that, while not claiming to be comprehensive, is a good place to start.

Peter splits the market into four main areas:

  • Cloud Computing. Turning the data centre into a utility service that provides virtual computing and storage services. You buy processing and storage as you need it. The hardware is of no concern; it appears when you need it.
  • Software as a Service. Delivering applications as a subscription service over the Internet. The ISV that developed the SaaS application runs it, buying deployment infrastructure as a service from utility providers.
  • Platform as a Service. PaaS offers an integrated environment to design, develop, test, deploy and support custom applications. Following the pay-as-you-go model of SaaS, PaaS does not need large up-front investments, and so is a good choice for ISVs.
  • Core Cloud Services. Common features such as billing, security and storage all ISVs need to complete their offer. In the past ISVs would have to build such common features within their on-premise applications. PaaS providers bundle them into a complete offer so ISVs do not have to worry about them.

Peter’s map can only give a first impression of the market structure and the hundreds of existing players. See SaaS Showplace created by Jeff Kaplan from THINKStrategies if you want more details of SaaS vendors and their products. SaaS Showplace currently lists 3,000 SaaS solutions from 650 companies, split into 80 segments.

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