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CIO Cloud and PaaS Cheat Sheet

Just when I was starting to figure out SaaS vs, IaaS and PaaS, now comes private vs. public PaaS. Fortunately there is Bart Copeland, CEO of ActiveState to make sense of it all.

First, platform as a service. You probably know what it means, but it's a fairly new term so there's nothing wrong with making sure we all know what we're talking about.

I think of cloud as a stack. At the lowest level is Infrastructure as a service, IaaS, really pure infrastructure upon which I can build my apps. Kind of like a bare-metal server.

Platform is infrastructure equipped with components needed to run things, taking that bare metal server and adding an OS, storage, networking interfaces, that sort of thing.

At a higher level is SaaS. That's pretty self explanatory.

Getting back to PaaS, a public offering would support my apps and data and let me offer services. But it might also be hackable. A private PaaS should be safer, but it should also be faster and have more uptime because presumably it wouldn't be shared by every Tom, Dick and Harry. That's because a pure private PaaS would be in your own shop. Another approach, though semantically less pure, is a private PaaS carved out of a provider's network that is yours and yours alone.

You might have thought it was dumb that I defined all those terms up front, but we are early in this game. In the best of cases these names gets misused; in the worst, they are thoroughly abused.

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/11/2012 at 12:47 PM


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