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The key to unlocking organizational agility is transformation of the software development process, and the VMware IT Transformation white paper leads on into this area too.

This begins to set the scene for ‘PaaS’ – Platform as a Service, and the very important role this Cloud model will play in Enterprise Cloud scenarios.

Not only does VMware have products for building a PaaS but they have also taken very large-scale steps to pursue this specific sub-segment. This Wired article tells you the story about the launch of the Pivotal initiative, the EMC/VMware joint venture led by Paul Maritz and funded to the tune of $105m by GE.

In essence this represents this scale of investment directed entirely at this segment of PaaS, and the impact on the enterprise software market that it represents, and Paul is quoted as saying he wants to bring customers “Google in a box”, referring to the idea that public PaaS offerings like Google App Engine, can also be internalized to a private Cloud scenario, the power base of VMware.

solution designEnterprise Agility

The nature of the enterprise IT challenges that PaaS addresses is succinctly capture in this VMware article: Introducing a New Reference Architecture, where they describe the goals for the team being:

  • “How do I quickly deploy and scale different types of applications including big data, analytics, mobile, SaaS, and Social?

  • How do I plan, manage, and move data for faster response times and greater scale?

  • How do I set up development environments quickly and predictably?

  • How do I deploy applications to production systems quickly and avoid errors?

  • How do I keep my fast-changing application under management?

  • How do I set up active-active architectures and geographically distributed systems?”

This is a pretty good generalized statement that applies to most if not all large enterprise organizations and even smaller ones with big technology footprints, and it captures how the difference between IaaS and PaaS is that one automates work for the infrastructure managers, and the other automates work for the software developers.

They are fused through ‘DevOps’, enabling IT organizations to embrace an Agile, high frequency release schedule approach:

For the enterprise market the critical question is how will this mode of work impact upon their legacy IT estate, all the mainframes, Unix machines and other varieties that most large organizations have.

VMware describes how they take on the virtual equivalents of banking mainframes via their PaaS, introducing the role of one of their core components for this strategy: VMware vFabric.

This forms a foundation part of their PaaS strategy, and as you’ll see in these articles PaaS is a lot about a process of standardization: Building more controlled but more enabling processes for software developers, freeing them up from mundane operational work so they can focus more on customer & value add activity.

This isn’t just a nice improvement in the IT team, this is the key to fundamentally transforming the nature of the relationship between the business and IT, in terms of how the IT evolves to be more proactive in pioneering technology-enabled business innovation. Smart CIOs will forge their personal careers on harnessing this effect for sure.

big-dataBig Data PaaS

Furthermore these agile PaaS platforms can be tuned towards ‘Big Data’ scenarios, and how is nicely explained through some great reference materials.

In their Emerging Technology series the agency responsible for E-health standards in Canada, called Health Infoway, covered both Cloud computing and Big Data, and how the combination would impact upon Canadian healthcare.

The Cloud model for then delivering this via a PaaS approach is described in the E-Health Cloud white paper. Specifically on page 25 they describe a need for Big Data Analytics, and also that it should be delivered via a PaaS – Platform as a Service.

Whether it’s called “predictive analytics,” “smart computing” or “analytics on cloud,” cloud computing and analytics provides a comprehensive offering of a combination of products that enable enterprises to move their business intelligence, data warehousing and online analytical processing (OLAP) workload to a cloud platform.

While the implementation of cloud analytics can take several forms at a high level, the following are parts of a cloud analytics platform that would be of interest to an enterprise:

- A virtualized infrastructure to support the basic cloud tenants to build a private/public/hybrid cloud

- PaaS in-line with the underlying cloud infrastructure that can support the analytical needs of reporting, analysis, dashboards, extraction, transformation and load (ETL) and predictive analytics

- Customized analytics applications in a PaaS/SaaS offering which are uniquely positioned for designing and developing customized analytics applications. The cloud provider is responsible for on-demand provisioning and the maintenance of software and hardware.

Healthcare is one sector where it is easy to visualize how these new scale of apps might be employed – All those X-ray images and large media assets are ideal for Cloud storage and then Big Data analysis, and Cloud providers increasingly will emerge who cater for these niche x-aaS requirements.

The post Big Data PaaS – Platform for enterprise agility appeared first on Cloud Computing Best Practices.

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