PAAS is not dead, but its not thriving yet

We at c-cloud social media department conducted a 3 question survey on the state of PAAS. Below are the results and my short summary.

Total Responses: 57 ( exclusively via twitter )

1. Do you currently use PAAS?

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2. Is PAAS Dead?

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So, a simple majority thought PAAS is not dead. Even if we account for vendor responses, we can say there is no overwhelming sentiment that PAAS is dead. It is an argument of the “experts” more than anything else at this time.

3. What is your opinion about future of PAAS?

Here responses were interesting.

First the sample PAAS positive responses:

It is the future of software development as one can run on premises or cloud – private, public, or hybrid.

the only way most enterprises will consume cloud this decade

SaaS for Developers

It has one

Good

Useful if it means I have a common platform that my devs can write to while ops decides where the app actually runs – my infrastructure or AWS.

Its better than SaaS

Promising

Force (salesforce 1) alone already has a lot of apps created and used by companies. Hard to see it dying

High

Bright

Early but promising

Not sure why the haters are trying to derail it. There is a future

Here are the  sample PAAS negative responses:

About 5 years off from major adoption.

who needs paas when you can have saas

Effective IT Self Service that connects to CM tools largely replicates the PaaS capabilities, but without adding any additional complexity

consolidation with IaaS which then leads to reusable policy based docker like building blocks

Dead

Too inflexible for diverse worlds

Unlikely to be a meaningful distinction going forward

it is dead

Kill it

Its FUKING DED

No future.

Squashed between SaaS and IaaS.

No one will use the term—it will be standard offering(s) from IaaS providers.

predict huge adoption among corporations full of idiots

In Summary

PAAS still has a decent shot of becoming relevant, but enough doubt exists among people. This is not unique and most (eventually) successful technologies do undergo a period of doubt and I suspect PAAS is in that phase now. Vendors can move it forward by better documenting the early wins and publicly sharing customer stories as called out by this blogger.

We hope you find this survey from c-cloud social media department helpful.  Write your opinions below.

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F the platform

Say “Platform” again! Say! “Platform”! again! I dare you! I double-dare you, mofo! Say “platform” one more goddamn time!

“A platform must have APIs first and foremost”

“A platform must be open”

“A platform must be delivered as a service”

“A platform is not a platform unless it has a beautiful login page”

“A platform should be integrated well with a developers IDE”

“A platform is what builds companies – product companies rarely thrive”

“Platform is the computer”

“A Platform is the glue between unknown and the known”

“A Platform must be portable and must include support for containers”

“A platform starts with community “

“A platform must support BigData”

“A platform is the building block of IoT”

“A platform must follow mobile first methodology”

“Platform is the way to build a cloud company”

Ah, F it guys. Seriously.

You are confusing the matters. There is no such thing as “the” platform that’s going to deliver nirvana for the companies that pursue them.  The world does not need one platform from every software company in the world. In your misguided greed to dominate the world through your “platform” you are building shitty products that do not even solve the basic problems that you customers buy your products for. I  see a future where your company ceases to exist if you go down this route.

So, my one piece of advice: Platform is not for majority of you, unless you already have many happy customers and developers coding against your APIs, don’t be fricking kidding yourself  that you are building a platform.

Do one thing well, do it really well first, then think about evolution of your product into a platform. If an expert says you must first think about platform, follow them after work to see what they drink at the bar – I bet they are drinking Coors Light and thinking its effing great  – do you want to listen to people like that? Seriously?

Enterprise IT has issues – acknowledge them

As you guys know, I am a big proponent of Cloud, Devops and all that good stuff. I would not look  kindly upon a vendor who tries FUD on any of those.  I am also not a big fan of Private Cloud, as it takes us backwards in technology adoption. I am not yet sold on PAAS because none of the vendors have demonstrated a clear value proposition so far. 

Having said that, I had realized over last few months that enterprises have problems and we need to acknowledge them. It is the task of vendors, pundits, gurus and shamans to work with enterprises to get them to the next stage of computing. A good understanding of the problems enterprise IT guys face is a good start. I will attempt to articulate few of those here, and look for your help in expanding them.

1. Strategic role of Enterprise IT – even today, in several large mainstream organizations, IT is a cost center and is seen as delivering a service that supports main mission of the enterprise, nothing more. Only a portion of the organizations have realized that IT is a competitive advantage. Do not make the assumption that each of the enterprise you speak to treats IT as a strategic investment. One test you can use is to see if CIO sits in the core exec team of that company. If CIO works for the CFO or someone else, you know that IT is not seen as a strategic area of the company. 

2. Company culture trumps IT culture – In many organizations, age old ways of doing business and treating employees as mere resources is still a norm. IT has to fit into this culture unfortunately – not many CIOs are empowered or capable of driving change to the culture of the larger organization they belong to. If the company has a culture of not tolerating any mistakes, then IT will be afraid of taking chances on new methods of doing things. One test you can do is ask the IT manager about what happens if the systems are down for few hours. You can learn a lot by that question about that companies culture. 

3. There is a reason some of the IT folks work in large companies – these reasons range from job security to having a predictable 8-5 job and location constraints. These folks are often risk averse. In my career, I had met many such folks. They thrive on a predictable, organized command and control structure. Any new way of doing things threaten these guys and will resist it vigorously. One test you can do is ask how long they have been with the company and how is their attrition rate – low attrition is likely higher “cling to job” mindset. Also, location of the company is a good indicator. 

Now, we can argue that companies that have these problems will not survive, but lets leave that to the management consultants to argue. 

So, if you are a software vendor that wants to sell to these IT guys, what can you do?

1. Do not attack their way of doing things as old, outdated  ( leave that to twitter  )
2. Find early victories you can give to these guys – for ex: instead of embracing Cloud all at once, how about encourage them to start with Cloud storage for files or use EC2 for only Dev/Test activities as stage 1?.
3. Do not say their previous investments are boneheaded. Especially if a CIO has spent few millions on a large enterprise software within last 2-3 years, don’t be going around arguing they made a huge mistake. They will defend their decisions. Do not fight it. Figure out how you can compliment what they have and show them a non disruptive transition plan.

However, do not do the following because you are not helping your customers or industry. 

1. Sell them a better on-prem software branded as private cloud – you really aren’t helping them.
2. Sell them training classes on new technologies or new methodologies that make the IT guys feel good for a day, but  can’t use them yet.
3. Tell them Cloud is insecure or will cause them problems meeting compliance – at best its inaccurate, worse, you are lying 

Thats all folks – back to tweeting.