See previous: Decades old Software Patterns may not be applicable in the Cloud
The line between IaaS and PaaS blurs every day. Soon we will have to redefine the industry accepted categories for Cloud Computing (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS).
Historically, a strong delineation exists between Infrastructure as a Service (the bones and circulation) and Platform as a Service (the digestive tract and organs).
Amazon first introduced its Cloud platform as Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) and now is creeping more and more towards Platform as a Service (PaaS). AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a great example of this.
Microsoft first introduced Azure as a Platform as a Service, and today is creeping more and more towards IaaS – the full redesign of the VM Role are a great example. Likely we will see more announcements later this month from Microsoft of expanded IaaS features in Azure.
With the introduction (and later acquisition) of Cloud Foundry by VMWare, these lines have further been blurred. VMWare has been around for decades. Cloud Foundry serves an elegant way to slide from a forklifted application to a full fledged Cloud designed application. VMware is truly an established and credible solution for providing the virtualized environment. The combination of open source platform with the Service Level Agreement support by VMWare makes Cloud Foundry a serious contender if not leader in the Cloud provider space.
At Slalom, we use Tier 3 for our hosting. Tier 3 provides the old school hosting mentioned earlier; however they also support CloudFoundry and this blurred world of IaaS/PaaS. To add more fuel to the fire, Tier 3 supports IronFoundry, which is .NET on top of CloudFoundry. Now you can take advantage of the strong marketplace of .NET skillsets, in addition to the benefits stated above.
Why do should a developer care? Number one and foremost – it makes your job a lot easier to migrate an on-premise application the cloud. Right now, it is a challenge to take a WinDNA/DCOM type application and move it into AWS or Azure. With VMWare, you can forklift your app into a virtualized environment. Next, you can use CloudFoundry / IronFoundry to modify and add PaaS capabilities. The beauty here is that you don’t have to rewrite your application fully to take advantage of the PaaS capabilities.
If the lines between PaaS/IaaS continue to blur, we’ll have to come up with another taxonomy to categorize different types of cloud service providers.
Full summary here: Five Opinions on Cloud Computing in New York City