PaaS: Cloud computing is broken down into three service models, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). Gartner says PaaS, by far, is the most hyped of these terms right now. Think of PaaS as middleware in the cloud, where customized applications can be built and hosted outside of an organization's own data center. Some of the biggest names in on-premise middleware offerings are pushing toward the cloud, including IBM, Oracle, Red Hat and Microsoft. Gartner says that push will only continue. "As leading software vendors adjust their long-term strategies to reflect the emerging importance of cloud computing to their customer and prospect bases, they are investing to establish a leadership position in the middle layer of PaaS," Gartner's report notes.
But, it is still early days, and many of these companies still only have offerings in beta form, including Red Hat and Oracle. Microsoft Azure and VMware Cloud Foundry are two of the leading PaaS plays now, Gartner says. The term is hyped, though, because of the breadth of vendors looking to tap into the space, and the potential for the services that could be included in the PaaS layer, ranging from applications development to integration, business process management, database management and messaging. But in the early stages of the industry few vendors offer those spectrum of services.
After a technology is introduced, its benefits are widely touted by vendors and early adopters. Then reality sets in, or what Gartner describes as the "trough of disillusionment."
Public cloud storage: Not having to buy servers to store your data is one of the chief benefits cloud proponents have advocated. Instead of buying expensive equipment to store all your data on your own site, it can be sent up to the cloud where your provider will hold it and it can be accessed from anywhere, or so goes the Cinderella story of cloud storage.