September 28, 2012, 12:22 PM — Having on-demand virtual machines for employees is one thing, but that wasn't enough for networking giant Cisco, says Rodrigo Flores, an enterprise architect in the company's intelligent automation business unit.
Last year Cisco launched what Flores calls one of the most advanced private cloud networks in the world, giving Cisco's 60,000 employees access to a shopping cart of virtual machine types. This infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud has offerings ranging from mirco instances of anywhere from one to five VMs to jumbo instances of 250 VMs, with 500 CPUs and up to 1TB of RAM. After launching the Cisco IT elastic infrastructure services, code-named CITEIS, Flores says there was a collective thinking internally of, "What's next?" For Cisco, it was platform as a service (PaaS).
DR IN THE CLOUD: Vendors jump in, enterprises wade
Some say the future of cloud computing is not on the infrastructure http://www.networkworld.com/supp/2012/enterprise2/040912-ecs-iaas-compan... (IaaS) layer, but instead on the platform as a service http://www.networkworld.com/slideshow/32927 (PaaS) layer, where enterprises can build and launch applications that are run in the cloud.
But PaaS hasn't quite seen the market adoption that the IaaS and software as a service (SaaS) layers have. Gartner http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/091812-gartner-cloud-market-262546... estimates PaaS is a $1.2 billion market compared to the $14 billion SaaS market and $6 billion IaaS market.
Flores says that's because many of the PaaS offerings on the market today are what he calls "Silicon Valley PaaS" vendors, who provide a place for organizations to build and construct new applications in the vendor's cloud. That's great for developers who don't want to worry about the underlying infrastructure the apps need, because it's all provided by the PaaS provider. Microsoft Azure, Heroku and AppFog provide such services, a literal platform for developers to build and launch applications in the cloud.