When it comes to application infrastructure, some of the burning questions that organisations are asking themselves include:
- If I host some of my application functionality in the could, how do I integrate that with my existing on-premises applications?
- How do I integrate my on-premises application with external business partners?
- Everyone is talking about platform as a service (PaaS). Should I use it? If so, when and when not?
In this research, we address these questions by introducing the concept of iPaaS, a specific form of PaaS targeting integration and governance requirements, and how it can be used to address cloud-to-on-premises and other related requirements.
PaaS: An Evolving Market
In Gartner's view, the architecture of cloud computing is structured in three foundation layers:
- The system infrastructure service layer (commonly referred to as infrastructure as a service [IaaS]) providing the core computing networking and storage services.
- The application infrastructure service layer (usually called PaaS), implementing database management system (DBMS), application server, application security, messaging business process management (BPM), managed file transfer (MFT), B2B integration, data and application integration, SOA governance, and a variety of other "middle tier" application services.
- The application service layer (mostly known as SaaS), delivering user application functionalities such as ERP, CRM, human capital management (HCM), collaboration, Web conferencing, e-mail and a myriad of other scenarios, including for specific vertical markets.
While SaaS and, to a lesser extent, laaS are widely adopted by the user community, PaaS is less well-understood and certainly not as popular as the other cloud layers. This is in the nature of the middle-tier services it provides which are not oriented toward end users (like SaaS) and cannot easily be used to support the deployment of existing applications, such as laaS.
PaaS is in its infancy, and most mainstream users only have a vague idea of what it is. Moreover, its intended audience is primarily the development community of architects, project leaders and developers (in end-user organisations or those working for independent software vendors [ISVs]/service providers) focused on implementing new, cloud-based applications systems, which are still a minority (albeit growing) of the total number of new development projects.
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