Saturday, June 15, 2024
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If you can’t tell PaaS vendors apart, use this five-layer model to classify them

Knowing the best cake to pick is difficult when they all look the same. If you look more carefully you spot the differences. ISVs moving to SaaS have difficulty telling apart the different PaaS approaches. Phil Wainewright’s five-layer market model helps classify the many PaaS vendors.
As an ISV moving to PaaS, you need to understand what choices are available to pick the right one. The Cloud Computing, Saas and PaaS market map is a good high-level view, but does not go into enough detail. To understand PaaS vendor positioning we need something more.

Phil Wainewright has a good five-layer PaaS model on the Software as Services blog that is more helpful. Phil splits the PaaS market into the following five layers:

  1. Do-it-yourself. You build your applications with whatever tools and architecture you want. You select, buy and run the hardware to support your SaaS solution.
  2. Managed hosting. You have full control of the software, but you leave the hardware to a specialist hosting provider. They make some of the hardware decisions, but you are still responsible for most of the technical decisions.
  3. Cloud computing. Utility providers transform compute and storage into abstract services that you use and pay for on-demand. An abstraction layer hides the hardware details so your SaaS solution can use simple APIs.
  4. Cloud IDEs. These vendors say you should develop web applications in the same environment you will deploy them. Professional developers use cloud IDEs to design, code, test, deploy, support and maintain SaaS solutions. They bring the SaaS pay-as-you-go model to the complete development lifecycle.
  5. Cloud application builders. These go further and focus on specific classes of application with comprehensive frameworks of standard functionality. The cloud application builders are intended more for power users than professional developers.

I think that Phil’s five-layer model is a good basis for understanding the PaaS market and its vendors. I will use these layer names on paasTalk.

Coming up…

Phil also asked readers which of the five layers they would prefer to use to build SaaS solutions. In part two of this article I look at how the results match the needs of European ISVs building SaaS solutions for their vertical niche.

What do you think about these five PaaS layers? Is this a good way to classify PaaS vendors? Please share your views in the comments…

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