PAAS is a figment of (y)our imagination

I admit failure and thats a hard thing to do given my ego.

I started exploring PAAS and said, may be I can help explain this. After some effort, I give up. I question the existence of PAAS as a product category. It just does not exist – it is a figment of (y)our imagination.

Everybody is confused about PAAS. The vendors seem to fight a lot as well. Initially I thought it was due to their competitive nature. I am starting to think its because even they are confused about what problem they are trying to solve and if their product is even relevant. I suspect the anger is a result of their fears. 

PAAS as a market segment is like putting cart before the horse. It is vendors trying to package bunch of stuff and call it a PAAS. Now, each of these offerings provide different value for customers that take time to understand them and find value in using them. It would be a mistake to lump them all together and call it a category for now. It would be a category as broad as ‘moving vehicles’ that may include bicycles, cars, earth moving equipment, trucks etc. 

Current “PAAS” products are amalgamation of developer tools and services that a vendor can get their hands on. It often include various language run-times, IDEs, monitoring and debugging tools, APIs etc. 

For a taste of difference between different PAAS solutions, I listed 3 of the ones that list services offered by them below ( in Alphabetical order ). 

Note: Would have loved to include OpenShift, but what services OpenShift provides is a mystery to me and their website is impossible to use, so going to ignore it for now. 


Service Broker
API based Transaction Metering
Distributed Cache
Federated Authentication with Enterprise Systems
Multi-tenant Queue
Service Catalog
End User On boarding / Provisioning
Entitlement Definitions
App Deployment Policies
Application Inventory
Application Lifecycle Management
Self Service Dev Portal
Self Service IT Portal
Centralized Logging/Auditing
System Center Integration
Infrastructure Tagging
Load Distribution and HA
Resource Policies
Extensible Cloud Application Services
Custom Workflow Extensions
Multi-tenancy Enablement


Lifecycle API
Dynamic Routing
Data and Webservice Brokers
Linux Container Management
Role based access
app health management
user authentication and authorization
Realtime logging API


Workflow and approval engine
Point & click development
Multi-language development
Real-time data feeds
Tools and APIs for professional developers
Mobile Services & SDK
Sharing and user access controls
Identity management
Reporting and dashboards
Salesforce Identity
Salesforce Private AppExchange

Tell me how much similarity do you find between these ?.  There are some common components, but it feels all over the map. 

So, what does this means. So, the questions you should be asking yourself are the following:

1. Do I need app services when building and deploying a cloud application?
2. Which services do I need for this application?
3. Which vendor provides these services – is it CloudFoundry, Salesforce1 or Apprenda or Microsoft Azure or someone else?

However, if you want to end in a zone of endless frustration, ask the following questions:

1. Do I need a PAAS ?
2. Which PAAS vendor is the best?
3. Which PAAS vendor has most traction?

ps: Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater – the lack of a clear market segment definition or similarities between these products, I do believe they serve a purpose and if you have a need for them, you should absolutely consider using them. They will deliver value from what I understand from early adopters. 

Hope you find this argument helpful. As always, agree / disagree with me here or on twitterz…



3 thoughts on “PAAS is a figment of (y)our imagination

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