Platform as a Service: The Next Big Opportunity for Communications Service Providers
The Route to PaaS
When cloud computing emerged a few years ago Communications Service Providers (CSPs) saw the opportunity to build the infrastructure layer and offer services on it. CSPs had data center facilities that when combined with their network assets created a cloud service offer with higher service delivery assurance than some alternatives. CSPs are now delivering infrastructure-based cloud services, especially Compute as a Service and Storage as a Service, to the public and to their large Enterprise customers in private cloud offers. As the cloud service model matures, providers who have invested in cloud infrastructure are finding that they are well positioned to evolve their Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings into new service delivery models by leverage their services, systems, and expertise to take on the next great opportunity in cloud services which is Platform as a Service.
The Value of PaaS
PaaS is an integral component to development and delivery of cloud-based applications delivered as Software as a Service—or SaaS. Developing a PaaS offer gives CSPs the opportunity to take advantage of the huge and growing SaaS market and help to accelerate the development of SaaS offers. CSP’s can take an active role by leveraging their assets and developing their capabilities, via a PaaS offer, rather than just hosting and transporting SaaS services. The capability they can provide is to enable development and then deploy applications that are created using tools that they support on to their cloud infrastructure. PaaS enables CSPs to carve out a new and essential role in SaaS development and delivery, situated between software developers and end users, for both business and consumers.
Routes to Market
The route to market for PaaS is complex and to reduce complexity and maximize success the CSP needs to play a major role in providing the platforms and services as well as hosting and delivery capabilities that are needed. They can facilitate SaaS development as a cloud platform provider by offering capabilities for development, enablement, and delivery of SaaS services including the components for development, billing, customer and vendor management, and customer self-servicing tools. They can also act as a SaaS aggregator by hosting a suite of SaaS applications and as a market place provider where multiple SaaS providers utilized their back-end and customer facing portals and tools to enable service delivery.
The CSP Advantage
CSPs are uniquely positioned to offer PaaS services that will enable SaaS delivery due to their many assets including top-tier data centers, with the necessary capacity, and their networks, for reliable delivery of SaaS to end users backed by SLAs for availability both in the data center and over the network. CSPs also have the experience with service offerings and the back-end systems that are required to support these operations, and often a global presence. Most importantly the CSP has the IaaS infrastructure designed for virtualization often build on a converged compute platform (such as Vblock or Flexpod built around Cisco UCS) that is the foundation for layering on the PaaS service.
To The Future
The future of technology will be driven by applications delivered to users globally on all types of devices. To satisfy this growing demand developers need platforms that they can easily access that enable quick development and large scale delivery with consistent security and management. The CSP is well positioned to meet this challenge by leveraging their strengths in service delivery and their network and data center assets. For the CSP the route toward PaaS leadership starts with their own IaaS infrastructure. On that foundation, they can layer a PaaS platform that is attractive to developers. CSPs with a PaaS offer are uniquely positioned to play a central role in SaaS delivery, by taking on the roles of the platform provider, integrator, and service provider, ensuring a successful service for a growing market of both consumer and Enterprise customers.
For more information see, Platform as a Service: The Next Big Opportunity for Communications Service Providers by Lynda Stadtmueller, Program Director – Cloud Services at Stratecast.