Go modular or die

Composable PaaS vs. Modular Cloud Services

MikeSoby
cumulogic

Has PaaS had its day already? Cumulogic’s CEO Mike Soby dissects contextual and composable platforms and the customer’s desire to leverage AWS.

Has PaaS had its day already? Cumulogic’s CEO Mike Soby
dissects contextual and composable platforms and the customer’s
desire to leverage AWS. This article appeared in JAX Magazine: On Cloud
Nine
.

Recently, James Urquhart brought up a
fascinating debate
about contextual versus composable PaaS,
which has created an equally interesting, broader debate for
application deployment in general. Contextual PaaS provides an
integrated deployment framework with no ability to add custom
components and requires applications to be written to that
platform. Composable PaaS on the other hand allows for greater
flexibility, as components can be plugged in to support diverse
applications. While we believe composable PaaS delivers value and
caters to a wide variety of applications, cloud services provide
almost infinite flexibility for application development, which begs
the question: are composable PaaS or modular cloud services a
better way to develop applications?

Looking at the cloud market, is there a company today that is
experiencing broad success in providing solutions to developers and
if so, how are they succeeding? I’ll submit here that AWS is
absolutely that market leader and when one drills into that
success, we find that a strong contributing factor to their
adoption success is indeed their modular approach to delivering
services. 

I’ll be the first to admit that there is no singular
contributory factor to the unparalleled success that we’ve seen
from Amazon in these early innings of cloud, but I will also assert
that their modular approach is certainly a factor in that
success. 

In speaking with actual customers, there have been several
factors cited in the desire to leverage AWS and chief among those
factors was the ability to gain access to exactly the services
needed, when needed— EC2, Beanstalk, RDS, DynamoDB, Elastic Load
Balancer, etc. In other words, AWS is providing the best of both
worlds by offering a solution like Beanstalk for integrated PaaS
and additionally offering individual services discretely that can
be composed by the user into the specific experience he/she
desires.

When assessing the solutions that AWS brings to the table, it’s
obvious that they are doing something right, both in the ease of
resource availability and the modularity. AWS Beanstalk grew
organically by orchestrating existing AWS services.

The platform grew out of the services, it didn’t pre-define the
services. Most PaaS providers had it backwards by trying to
define the platform first. The lessons learned at Amazon seem to
have solved the debate of contextual vs. composable by going beyond
and offering cloud services. CumuLogic’s clients have offered
similar insights. PaaS may yet emerge as a market in the future,
but only after a foundation of cloud services – only after we get
the cart and horse in proper perspective.

Figure 1: The New Middleware

Our current belief at CumuLogic is that this debate should be
rendered moot because we, like AWS, believe that the developer need
not pick one or the other when they have the option of
orchestrating modular cloud services. Developers should be afforded
the choice to use contextual or composable PaaS for simple
applications and modular cloud services for more complex
architectures. 

For providers, over the next few years there will be a far
greater opportunity for revenue from the later than the former. In
taking this a step further, we believe that the best solution
should be available on top of any cloud and not just be locked into
EC2. We also believe that an optimal solution should also be
tailored to fit inside the firewall and afford the same AWS-like
functionality while riding on a private cloud, eliminating the
enterprise security concerns. This is the problem that we’re
striving to solve.

We’d welcome your input to this debate, our approach or our
product, which is now available as pre-release for evaluation
purposes on HP
Cloud

Author Bio: A pioneering entrepreneur in the
datacenter infrastructure and IT consulting space, Mike came to
CumuLogic from CA, Inc. where he was VP of Cloud Consulting. He
joined CA through the acquisition of 4Base Technology where he was
co-founder, leading 4Base from initial inception to acquisition in
less than four years.

This article appeared in JAX Magazine: On Cloud
Nine
. Click the link for that issue and others.

Author
MikeSoby
Mike Soby is a pioneering entrepreneur in the datacenter infrastructure and IT consulting space, Mike came to CumuLogic from CA, Inc. where he was VP of Cloud Consulting. He joined CA through the acquisition of 4Base Technology where he was co-founder, leading 4Base from initial inception to acquisition in less than four years.
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