Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Chris Schwarz

Related Topics: Java IoT, @CloudExpo

Java IoT: 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CHEETAH Training & Innovation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CHEETAH Training & Innovation is a cloud consulting and IT training firm specializing in improving clients cloud strategies and infrastructures for medium to large companies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...