The top five platform-as-a-service offerings you should know about

Alex Handy
July 5, 2011 —  (Page 1 of 2)
If all you need to run your application is a Ruby runtime and some Node.js support, Heroku is head-and-shoulders above all other platform-as-a-service providers. Though it is now owned by, much to the chagrin of VMware, Heroku remains the next-generation cloud platform. You don't worry about spinning up servers or about scaling your application. Heroku just makes your app work in the cloud and for your users.

Obviously, the limit of what's available is the biggest downfall for Heroku. We can only hope that Salesforce is putting resources into expanding Heroku to include Java, .NET, Python, C, C++, and all the other languages and stacks an enterprise would use. Heroku is a bit like the Apple of PaaS: It does one thing, and does it very, very well, but you won't be hosting your trading applications there. For that, you might want to take a look at VMware.

Cloud Foundry has the best pedigree on this list, but it's also a bit of a dark horse in the existing marketplace. That is, if VMware can get Cloud Foundry into shape.

The idea behind Cloud Foundry is great: host Java, Ruby and Node.js in a platform that can be run just about anywhere. Whereas Heroku is hosted in the cloud, Cloud Foundry is designed to run in your data center. As a result, your enterprise Spring applications can be migrated over to this modular platform, then spun up in any data center that needs them and runs Cloud Foundry. And with SpringSource behind the platform, you can be sure the Java stacks will be fast, lean and optimized for enterprises.

Of course, there are still doubts around the platform. It did come out of nowhere, with almost no warning from VMware. Previously, Cloud Foundry was just a name, but it was snatched up a few days before SpringSource was purchased by VMware. Rumors claim that Cloud Foundry pushed that acquisition over the edge and was the deciding factor for VMware to purchase SpringSource.

However, it's been two years now, and Cloud Foundry still isn't here in full. It's almost as if VMware missed out entirely on Heroku, then turned around and decided to amend its existing plans to building a Heroku competitor. If Cloud Foundry and its MicroCloud desktop test deployment environment come to fruition, they could be quite useful and powerful. Keep an eye out for the final public release of MicroCloud later this summer, or give Cloud Foundry a try now by asking for an invite at its site.

Related Search Term(s): AppHarbor, CloudBees, Cloud Foundry, Dot Cloud, Heroku, PaaS

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07/05/2011 10:29:39 AM EST

Great list, but you left out Apprenda. I understand that there are many other offerings that did not make this list, as well, but Apprenda is a major contender. Out of all of the platform-as-a-service offerings, they are the only one that creates a true Private PaaS and also allows for SaaS enablement. Very cool technology that my company is using and is thoroughly impressed with.

United StatesAndrew C.

07/05/2011 10:32:42 AM EST

I'm surprised not to see the Windows Azure Platform in this list. Surely Azure currently leads the PaaS pack for developer mind-share and developer acceptance. --rj

United StatesRoger Jennings

07/11/2011 05:56:57 PM EST

Might want to add PHPFog to the list. Kind of like Heroku for PHP.

United StatesChad Keck

10/27/2011 07:33:52 AM EST

India is really catching up with CT.Even the slow to wake up Universities are getting interested.Great time for researchers!

Indiadr t e parthasarathy

07/21/2012 03:09:04 PM EST

+1 PHPFog. I have not used it. But I know developers who worked there who are top of their game.

United StatesHank Beaver

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