Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Mike Kavis, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Jackie Kahle

Related Topics: Java, Cloud Expo

Java: Article

PaaS 2.0 Adds Standards and Greater Developer Control

PaaS 2.0 should combine the global availability of the hosting ecosystem and the standardization and flexibility of IaaS

Like evolution, constant technological change is unstoppable, whether through improvements or the emergence of entirely new technologies. This is especially true in the hosting industry where a new generation of more flexible and efficient platforms is emerging to take advantage of the cloud.

Historically, hosting services have been very inflexible. For example, a customer looking to change out servers rented from a hosted service provider would have to wait for several days, sometimes resulting in a significant blow to credibility and other losses. Amazon, with its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution, was able to reduce that operation to minutes, yet still left most of the server administration tasks to users. Later, first generation platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, like Google AppEngine and Heroku, allowed developers to upload their application code to a preconfigured environment, but with a trade-off. Developers often had to rewrite code to run on the vendor's platform and give up control of the execution environment.

PaaS for the cloud needs to evolve to address the shortcomings of earlier platforms. This next generation platform - PaaS 2.0 - should combine the global availability of the hosting ecosystem (hosters, their customers and application developers), the standardization and flexibility of IaaS, and ease of provisioning and scaling.

Proprietary Engines to Standard Execution Environments
The first Java platforms as a service, like Google App Engine, implemented proprietary execution environments. Developers had to learn the new environment and its limitations, and change their code to work in that environment. Some platforms, like Heroku, tried to mitigate this problem by taking an existing open source server and customizing it. While this made the learning curve smaller, the limitations imposed on developers, such as the absence of multi-threading and limited server choice, meant that most existing applications could not be deployed "as is" in PaaS.

Java, a popular and established programming language, is supported by numerous application servers that suit various deployment scenarios. The Wikipedia page on Java Platform Enterprise Edition lists a variety of server options, including Tomcat, GlassFish and Jetty - each with its share of devoted users and advantages in particular scenarios. Developers are not eager to switch between servers and want the exact environment required by their applications.

The same situation is true for database servers. Older platforms offer either proprietary solutions or support only one type of database server, such as MySQL, so the environment topology for the applications can't be set up. Use of proprietary storage platforms, such as Google's Big Table or Amazon SimpleDB, lock developers into a specific service and hold them hostage to changes in the service provider's policies. Recent price increases by Google AppEngine illustrate the problem.

PaaS 2.0 should offer a wide range of application and database servers. This is the only way that developers can achieve 100 percent compatibility with existing open standards, use a wide range of libraries and frameworks, and establish environment topologies according to their tastes, needs and knowledge, without vendor lock-in.

Separation of Platform and Service
Early PaaS offerings lack a separation between platform and service. Google, for example, is the only service provider offering Google App Engine. Amazon is the only one offering Amazon Elastic Beanstalk. Salesforce.com (the owner of Heroku) is the only one offering Heroku, and so on. If you like the platform, but don't like the service - too bad. If the price goes up (as in Google's case) or if you need the service outside the U.S. with a different set of service level agreements (SLA) or certifications - again, too bad. This marriage between platform and service limits consumer choice and stifles innovation.

PaaS needs to evolve to an ecosystem model where platforms are developed by software companies, and the service is available in multiple geographies, across a variety of industries, at attractive price points, and with value-add options from an ecosystem of hosted service providers.

Scalability
Scalability for first-generation PaaS offerings came at a price. Platforms were not able to automatically add resources, such as RAM and CPU, when apps needed them. Instead, developers had to change their apps to use multiple parallel machines, and add machines each time more resources were needed.

While horizontal scaling creates highly scalable and available Internet applications, it imposes huge additional requirements on application developers, making code redesign necessary just to ensure the application has the resources it needs.

The next-generation PaaS needs to be more flexible in adapting to applications. If a developer chooses to run a single instance of an application (or the application is just not designed to run on multiple machines), the platform needs to automatically give the application the resources it needs when usage goes up. The same is true when usage goes down. If no one is using the system at 1 a.m. and it only needs 128 MB of memory, PaaS needs to automatically recycle the rest of the resources to reduce the bill.

PaaS 2.0 shouldn't force developers to change their applications and behaviors, but should support both scaling scenarios without imposing limitations.

Control over the Environment
Like the limitations that early PaaS imposed on the application server, developers were also very limited in how they could work with the execution environment to extend and control it. If an extra library was needed for an application, the developer could only use frameworks made available by the vendor. If the developer needed to fine-tune server configuration files or add new ones, he was out of luck if the application did not fit within the platform's limits. PaaS 2.0 needs to allow developers to use all of the libraries and configurations currently available.

Graphical User Interface
Usability is another key requirement for PaaS technology to go mainstream. First-generation PaaS platforms often required using obscure command-line utilities to get anything done, making the learning curve even bigger and limiting its use among enthusiasts. PaaS 2.0 needs to easily integrate into the tools that developers know and use already with a highly intuitive graphical user interface of its own.

More Stories By Ruslan Synytskyy

Ruslan Synytsky is CTO and co-founder of Jelastic, Inc, the first company to deliver Platform-as-Infrastructure, combining the flexibility of IaaS and the ease of use of PaaS within a single turnkey platform. With over 15 years in the IT industry, Ruslan is an expert in large-scale distributed Java applications and enterprise platforms. Before starting Jelastic in 2011, Ruslan led engineering and software architecture teams at iQueLab, SolovatSoft and Datamesh. He was also one of the key engineering leads at the National Space Agency, Ukraine.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
StevenDDeacon 12/07/11 01:09:00 PM EST

For more information on cloud computing Integrated Service Management with IBM Cloud Computing Reference Architecture read IBM Whitepaper "Integrated service management and cloud computing" here [PDF].

StevenDDeacon 12/06/11 12:58:00 PM EST

Great Article! Many IT IaaS providers are now emerging offering many of the features your article describes required for PaaS 2.0. I've come across a few with interesting offerings. I currently write a blog "Information Technology Infrastructure Logistics". I hope to see more articles on this subject as PaaS offerings mature.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, will discuss how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust I...
After making a doctor’s appointment via your mobile device, you receive a calendar invite. The day of your appointment, you get a reminder with the doctor’s location and contact information. As you enter the doctor’s exam room, the medical team is equipped with the latest tablet containing your medical history – he or she makes real time updates to your medical file. At the end of your visit, you receive an electronic prescription to your preferred pharmacy and can schedule your next appointment.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
SYS-CON Events announced today that Litmus Automation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Litmus Automation’s vision is to provide a solution for companies that are in a rush to embrace the disruptive Internet of Things technology and leverage it for real business challenges. Litmus Automation simplifies the complexity of connected devices applications with Loop, a secure and scalable cloud platform.
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
The WebRTC Summit 2015 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabilities include HD voice, video, multimedia messaging, mobility, conferencing, Web collaboration, deskt...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.