- No vendor can deliver all 22 specialized middleware services offered through platform as a service (xPaaS), according to Gartner.
- There is no clear winner of the PaaS market as most vendors are narrowing their focus on "a single fit-for-purpose" xPaaS offering. The majority of PaaS vendors, 90%, can only offer one of the 22 xPaaS segments.
- The heavyweight vendors are venturing into multipurpose collections of xPaaS. Amazon, SAP, Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce and IBM are "megavendors" because they have resources large enough to provide nine or more of the 22 services.
Industry divides the cloud into three layers, including software as a service, infrastructure as a service and platform as a service.
IaaS is basic to fundamental computing, but doesn't deliver a lot of applications or tools for creating them. For those, companies turn to SaaS for everyday business operations. PaaS — the layer in between IaaS and SaaS — is where all business applications are created and executed.
The PaaS market has more than 360 vendors that offer more than 550 cloud platform services and by 2022, the market will double, according to Gartner. Eventually, PaaS "will be the prevailing platform delivery model" for businesses.
About half of PaaS vendors have cloud-only offerings which means they have strong enough cloud-based business to sustain revenue. It means they can refrain from selling software, which is more expensive and comes with "more overhead," Yefim Natis, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, in an interview with CIO Dive. "That's a lot of confidence. ... The cloud is where they want to do business."
Depending on the underlying infrastructure of PaaS, there are all kinds of data management and code written in various languages, integration and AI capabilities, which comprise the 22 services outlined by Gartner.
Some of the xPaaS segments include:
Application, integration and database platform
In-memory data grid
Artificial intelligence platform
Business process management
Master data management
There are only a "handful" of IaaS vendors and thousands of SaaS, but PaaS is unique, said Natis.
Of the nearly 400 PaaS vendors, less than 10 can deliver 10 of the 22 services and they are all the megavendors. IBM provides the most of the megavendors, offering 18 of the 22 services. However, IBM mostly works with consulting, "they're not really considered the cloud innovator in any kind of significant way," said Natis.
Salesforce, on the other hand is the one "you could say invented cloud computing" because they started selling a cloud service before 2000, according to Natis. "For a long time they were a leader in a market of one."
Every application that runs in the cloud has an entire stack below it, but that doesn't mean the vendor selling the application as a service also sells platform and infrastructure as a service. Instead, they could be using proprietary technology. Salesforce is an example of this.
It wasn't until a little over 10 years ago Salesforce separate its technology and created PaaS by extracting their underlying platform from its stack to begin to offer it as a standalone solution for customers, according to Natis. "That was the first PaaS, there was no PaaS before."