Cloud industry matures with Platform as a Service
So you thought cloud was the Next Big Thing? Think again. This industry never sits still for long, so let's give a warm welcome to Platform as a Service!
With the cloud providing universal access to dynamic infrastructures, the logical next step is to define these infrastructures using software. If there's a way to predict your IT requirements, then there's a way to encode those requirements and automate provision. Instead of thinking in terms of server licenses, just define your employee/customer requirements and let the code do the rest. Not only can this stabilize network infrascructures and speed application development, it's also very likely to save a lot of money. This is the concept behing Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Where Cloud Foundry's Pivotal and Red Hat's OpenShift lead the way in open-source PaaS software, so Chef and Puppet Labs set the pace in the private sector. Chef recently receiving $65M investment to Puppet's $86M, marking this as one of IT's most exciting sectors.
Web design and application development also benefit from software-defined infrastructures. In traditional setups, a website development team would invariably butt-heads against their own systems/operations department. One party was interested in gaining and providing access to functionality, whilst the other needed to control them. Then Agile Development came along and, with PaaS, a new development methodology was born: DevOps!
Conceptually combining Development and Operations, DevOps stresses rapid development through collaboration and integration. One Chef employee recently told me their client Etsy.com - the world's largest craft e-commerce marketplace - typically pushes 15 updates per day. That's every day: to the live website! Just two years ago - before Chef and Platform as a Service came along - that situation seemed an unattainable Holy Grail of website development.