In this post, we attempt to define and score key criteria that should be used to measure and assess how well a particular Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering meets the standard of "open".
We examined five PaaS platforms: Cloud Foundry (from VMWare), DotCloud, Force.com, Google App Engine and OpenShift (from RedHat). We scored each against five criteria for openness: choice of infrastructure, choice of platform, portability, choice of support and open source licensing.
Cloud Foundry, DotCloud scored at the top with a B- on our open PaaS criteria. OpenShift was a little behind with a C+. Despite the fact that all three vendors claim to be Open PaaS, they still fall short on some of our key criteria of open source. In many cases they have announced the intent to provide for more choices and openness in the future. Google App Engine and Force.com don’t claim to be open, and not surprisingly scored a D and D-. Detailed explanations of the grades are provided below.
As cloud computing has evolved, the early adoption has come primarily in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service arena. Early Platform-as-a-Service offerings (Google App Engine, force.com) gave developers little choice of languages, frameworks and runtime platforms. In addition, most of these PaaS offerings were tied to a particular IaaS provider, creating lock-in for those that chose them. As a result, developers and users gravitated towards more open IaaS offerings that let them pick and choose stacks and languages to meet their particular needs.
The battle for adoption has now shifted, as a variety of vendors and cloud providers work to win hearts and minds of developers, thereby attracting developers and users to their offerings. Vendors in the PaaS arena are looking to define their offerings as “Open PaaS” – implying that they provide developers with choice and flexibility. However, current PaaS offerings still fall short of many of the criteria that might be expected for an “Open PaaS” label. In some cases, these early PaaS offerings have announced roadmaps that would expand their level of openness.
Below are the five key criteria that we used to score PaaS offerings.
Open PaaS is a new, and we think positive, development in cloud computing. There are several offerings that are beginning to deliver on the promise of open PaaS, but there is still some room for improvement. Do you have other criteria that you would use to measure open PaaS? Would you grade some of the offerings differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
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