Software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service are not distinct pieces, but rather a continuum that can be viewed as the cloud application layer, according to Dave Jilk, CEO of PaaS provider Standing Cloud.

Speaking to SD Times from Cloud Expo in New York today, he announced that Standing Cloud has entered into a partnership agreement with cloud infrastructure provider OpSource to offer a full cloud stack that can reduce the administrative burden of cloud services. The partnership creates an application layer for OpSource customers, who today can choose from a host of Web applications such as DotProject and SugarCRM, then use them with management tools built in to the platform.

Standing Cloud works by grabbing a clean server image from the selected cloud provider; if it’s an open-source application, scripts will automatically install Apache, MySQL, PHP and other software needed to support the application, according to the company. Jilk said applications can move to other cloud infrastructures easily, so long as the application conforms to standards regarding where code is located.

This, he said, provides an advantage over Windows Azure cloud, for example, because only Microsoft developers can write applications to that platform for now.

“There are no other languages there yet,” Jilk said. Rackspace Cloud Sites is just scalable shared hosting, while Google App Engine and Heroku do not provide access to the layers beneath the platform, he said.

“Say you’re running SugarCRM on Standing Cloud,” Jilk explained. “You could run it out of the box and use it as software-as-a-service. If you choose, you can dig down to the next layer and modify the application.” The platform even offers access to the underlying machine itself, enabling users to make configuration changes as required. This, though, comes with the risk of turning off other capabilities in the platform, he cautioned.

The Standing Cloud platform supports Java, PHP, Python and Ruby applications, so developers can use familiar IDEs to create applications that run on the cloud platform. “Developers would work locally and sync their code to the production or test server,” Jilk said. “The catchword folks are using is DevOps.”

He went on to say that to developers at small companies, DevOps means “the company didn’t bother to hire a sysadmin, so I have to do it. Developers want someone else to do it. It’s a different process. Developers don’t think of things the same way [as administrators]. Developers will get it to work, but it’ll be less secure and perform less well.”