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What the Convergence of IaaS and PaaS Means for Cloud Governance

By John Grange

Since the advent of cloud computing, there have been three almost universally agreed upon cloud service models: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). By now, most people have a general understanding of what these terms mean and are likely using products delivered via at least one of these three service models. But as these cloud services platforms have evolved, and organizations have become more cloud oriented or "cloud-first", the lines between these three service models have begun to blur. 

More and more, companies are finding benefit and flexibility in foregoing the traditional siloed approach of distinct IaaS-PaaS-SaaS architectures, in favor of integrated, cloud-native alternatives. This new approach offers a continuum of cloud platform services oriented around containers, serverless, and APIs.  The value to the customer isn’t derived from the nature of any given cloud service, rather it’s in the cloud’s ability to deliver on business requirements more efficiently.  

In practice, this trend means that the way cloud leaders think about these terms needs to change. While before, IaaS was a way to run traditional server applications in the cloud, it’s now container-centric and at the foundation of the major cloud container services on Azure, AWS, and GCP. Similarly, PaaS offerings now routinely provide a breadth of specialized capabilities and configurability that used to be reserved for virtual machine based workloads, and SaaS applications are now instrumented with powerful APIs for extension and integration. This shift has had a significant impact on cloud operations. 

In a recent report titled Top 10 Trends in PaaS and Platform Innovation, 2020, Gartner broke down the key trends in cloud platform technology based on the demands of business innovation. When describing 'Trend 2: Cloud as a Platform Continuum' in the report, Gartner states, "In other words, the trend is that the new spectrum of cloud services is increasingly used end to end as a platform for technology-based business innovation."

We believe that leveraging this new spectrum of cloud services across multiple clouds requires a different approach to things like operations, security, and compliance. In taking on more of an agile, DevOps-centric mindset, cloud teams need to orient tooling and processes around the cloud platform control plane and management APIs. This can be challenging however, because traditional data center operations tools are agent-based, rely on logs, and don’t support the modern continuum of cloud services. 

Purpose-built for the cloud and API-driven, OpsCompass makes it easier for cloud operations teams to support technology and services like cloud containers or big data analysis without sacrificing their overall governance and security posture.

Top 10 Trends in PaaS and Platform Innovation, 2020

Tags: DevOps, Cloud Governance