Experts at research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) are forecasting that the worldwide public Platform as a Service (PaaS) market is expected to grow to more than $14 billion in 2017.

“The CAGR for the worldwide public PaaS 2013–2017 forecast is almost 30%,” said Robert Mahowald, Program Vice President for SaaS and Cloud Software research.

“Additionally, IDC research indicates that by 2017, public PaaS will account for more than 10% of overall application development and deployment revenue, with strong growth occurring in every region of the world, especially in Asia/Pacific (including Japan).”

no-PaaS vs. PaaS slide from Microsoft’s PDC 2010

no-PaaS vs. PaaS slide from Microsoft’s PDC 2010

However, the concept of PaaS itself is still being understood fully. Key research findings by IDC include:

  • The need to incorporate modern application development and deployment (AD&D) techniques, as well as more advanced forms of data management than vanilla relational structures all working together, are key drivers to dynamic public PaaS market growth.
  • Real-time interactions with customers and partners will amplify the need for more comprehensive application deployment services.
  • Industry-specific market drivers, primarily for healthcare reform in the US, fiscal reform in governments outside the US, and worldwide financial services reform, will also accelerate PaaS adoption.

“When they move to the cloud, people are no longer only looking for software as a service or infrastructure as a service,” said Mike Lehmann, Oracle’s vice president of product management.

“They’re thinking of bringing over application platforms and workloads to gain some of the same benefits for the application layer—standardization, faster deployment, automation with more flexible capital expenditure approaches, and seamless integration.”

To deploy a new application on premises, IT has to procure, install, and configure hardware, a database, an application server, and a development environment.

“It takes somecustomers weeks or even months to work through the mechanics of hardware procurement and setup, and to install everything they need before they even start writing one line of code for their custom application or deploying a prebuilt application,” added Lehmann.

With a comprehensive PaaS solution, months can be shrunk to an hour. “I don’t want to say it is magic, but to some degree that’s what’s happening,” says Lehmann. “We’re taking out a layer that is very process-bound and bureaucratic on premises and making it on demand and completely automated. And that’s what the Oracle cloud gives you—an out-of-the-box, standardized environment where you can start building the application or deploying the application or data in an hour.”

Organizations using PaaS have reported operational savings of up to 50% compared to individual teams managing siloed technology stacks. For companies with a hybrid cloud—for example, developmental testing in the public cloud and mission-critical production on premises—portability between all platforms is essential.

Survey results show that companies are learning how valuable PaaS can be to their business, and PaaS best practices are emerging. The wisdom of the crowd says that a PaaS offering should help developers easily and quickly build applications that integrate with the complex modern IT environment, which is filled with disparate information from multiple sources, and apps that are customized and prebuilt, on-premises and in the cloud.

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