Cloud Computing Service
Application Infrastructure Cloud Computing Services
A cloud computing service is a service that provides computing resources on-demand over the Internet. Both Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are well-established as cloud computing service models, with SaaS delivering a wide range of enterprise applications and IaaS delivering basic computing resources such as storage, networking and hardware to customers.
Until recently, application infrastructure and other middleware technologies were missing from the cloud computing stack. The emergence of Platform as a Service (PaaS), however, means that the provisioning of application infrastructure as a cloud computing service is now a possibility, combining the functionality of traditional middleware with the benefits of of the cloud.
PaaS: Application Infrastructure as a Cloud Computing Service
Application infrastructure is a crucial technology layer for supporting the execution and integration of business applications. It includes application servers, enterprise service bus (ESB) suites, data integration technologies, and other middleware technologies. Such technologies are now available as PaaS offerings.
As a cloud computing service, PaaS is characterized by a multitenant architecture, scalability, and self-service provisioning. These features allow for the elastic sharing of computing resources among multiple tenants, enabling enterprises to scale up or down as needed while only paying for what they use. Some application infrastructure technologies are included in SaaS offerings or offered as cloud-enabled platforms, but PaaS delivers application infrastructure as a standalone cloud computing service.
Gartner reports that the PaaS market is still taking shape with a broad range of cloud computing services falling within the category. These include specialist application infrastructure services such as business process management technology services, data integration services, message-oriented middleware, and enterprise portals.
PaaS also includes what Gartner calls “outcome-targeted” suites of services geared towards application developers and integration architects. These suites can be divided into two categories: Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) and Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).
- aPaaS solutions like Google App Engine and Microsoft Windows Azure are geared towards developers, providing an ecosystem of application servers and development and management tools to build and deploy business applications.
- iPaaS offerings provide application infrastructure resources that support integration and governance projects. With iPaaS, developers can develop and execute integration flows among different applications.
While traditional middleware and other application infrastructure products typically require significant investments of capital and labor to obtain, install, and configure before developers can get to work on their application and integration projects, aPaaS and iPaaS offer ready-to-use solutions, providing developers with the platforms they need to quickly build and deploy next-generation applications. As Ross Mason, founder and CTO of Mulesoft, points out, PaaS “represents a new level of freedom [for developers] - a break away from dealing with system architecture, servers and configuration.”
iPaaS: Integration for the Cloud Era
With more enterprises adopting SaaS and other cloud computing services, enterprise application integration (EAI) has once again become a high-priority IT issue. iPaaS addresses this issue by combining:
- Traditional EAI capabilities such as message transformation, routing, service virtualization and orchestration;
- Governance capabilities such as a registry/repository and life cycle management; and
- Cloud-specific capabilities such as security federation and administration.
According to Gartner, iPaaS is most commonly used for B2B integration and cloud-to-cloud integration, but is increasingly being used for on-premise-to-on-premise integration as well.
CloudHub is the world’s first iPaaS, allowing users to integrate applications within and beyond the firewall with a secure enterprise gateway and out-of-the-box cloud connectors. Based on Mule ESB technology, CloudHub allows for flexible integration capabilities beyond tactical point-to-point scenarios and includes a management portal that heightens visibility and control of integration projects, setting it apart from the “black box” nature of other cloud integration solutions on the market. Moreover, it is capable of service orchestration, complex message routing, and real-time event-driven integration. In short, CloudHub is the integration platform for the cloud era.