Computing has been transmuted from a capital intensive business requirement into a utility by Cloud based services like PaaS (Platform as a Service). The utility consumption can be scaled up on demand or scaled down as required. Users have to pay only for what they use. So much so that cash strapped small and medium businesses engaged in software development are no longer constrained by lack of hardware and software resources for any of their software development activities. They can sign up for Cloud based “Platform as a Service” and enjoy all the functionalities of traditional systems for a small price.
A number of independent small and medium software development organizations have taken advantage of PaaS to develop online applications that have commercial value to businesses. In the first wave of PaaS, the Platform as a Service was used for the development and deployment of software applications for a variety of commercial purposes. Force.com, Google apps, Windows Azure and 3tera are some examples of applications that have used PaaS successfully.
The second wave of PaaS is focused on developing desktop productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, email and web conferencing tools that run on third party infrastructure. Microsoft, Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Workaday, Symantec and Google are some of the more prominently used applications. Business process utilities for Cloud computing facilitate management of business processes over the Internet. The processes are highly standardized and support the process from start to finish. The processes are billed per transaction. Examples of these processes include EquaTrax (a royalty calculation reporting process), ADP Employease (a payroll management process) and Amex Concur for business expense management.
PaaS is rapidly becoming a popular method of expanding the IT stack of the organization. Most of the applications, processes and systems developed on Platform as a Service are Cloud backup driven. Industry experts point out the enterprises cannot ignore Cloud computing and grow. Owning all the hardware and software they use may not be the most economical way to go forward. The future of the organization will be governed by how well they learn to exploit the SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, and also link up their existing, on premise hardware and software to Cloud applications. They cannot afford not to take advantage of the elasticity, flexibility, reach and cost efficiency of Cloud computing and backup technologies.