Software is becoming the focus not just of IT but often of the business, as smartphones and the Web become increasingly central to customers’ lives and therefore an important conduit for providing products and services in multiple markets. New software technologies and methodologies can make business much more agile and better able to respond to market disruptions that are becoming increasingly common.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) shields developers from underlying hardware architecture, allowing them to focus completely on software and freeing companies from single vendor or service provider lock-in, Wikibon Analyst Stuart Miniman in his latest Wikibon Premium Alert. They support new software approaches such as micro-services that contribute to increased business agility.
Many of the early PaaS offerings, including Salesforce.com, Inc.’s Heroku, Windows Azure and the Google App Engine, are language-centric. Newer platform offerings, including Cloud Foundry, OpenShift, Docker and the even newer Unstructured PaaS systems, are multi-language and battling for developer mindshare.
Of these, Cloud Foundry is emerging as a leading open source platform and ecosystem for new cloud-native applications. Software built on it can run on any of the major infrastructure-as-a-Service platforms including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Compute Engine and IBM Softlayer. Originally an open-source project from VMware, Inc., Cloud Foundry was spun off to Pivotal Software, Inc. and now operates under the independent Cloud Foundry Foundation. This makes it fully open source, allowing multiple groups and vendors, including Pivotal, IBM, SAP SE, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Co., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Intel, Canonical, Ltd., Cisco Systems, Inc. and VMware, to contribute. It also supports multiple development languages, which enables a broader range of applications to be developed. All of this greatly reduces single-vendor lock-in.
Adapting disruptive technology
Traditional enterprises need to pay attention to the new software-centric approach to business, Miniman says. Increasing numbers of vertical markets are being disrupted by startups like Uber, Inc., AirBnB, Inc., Square, Inc., Tesla Motors, Inc., Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. and Twitter, Inc., that use highly agile, software-based business models to compete with established players. Too many companies believe they can re-architect old applications. Instead, writes Miniman, they need to focus on smaller incremental approaches and new application development.
DevOps is the operating model of successful software-centric enterprises, and all companies need to learn how to work with open source, both as a licensing model and as part of developer communities. Miniman recommends that enterprises engage expertise from vendors in the cloud-native and PaaS communities to gain knowledge transfer and early wins.
Miniman’s full Alert, “Cloud Foundry Guides Enterprise IT Toward Cloud Native Applications” is available without charge on the new Wikibon Premium Web site.