At the risk of making myself sound like an old-timer, I remember taking a computer programming class in college in which we used cardboard punch cards as the input mechanism. Better ways of programming have been emerging ever since, and most recently, platforms-as-a-service (PaaS) has at last changed the game. The virtual priesthood of programming is crashing down as new tools place this capability firmly into the hands of managers, innovators, and entrepreneurs everywhere.
The primary deployment mechanism for software in the very near future is going to be the cloud. Just a few short years ago, cloud apps were still in the domain of small, consumer-based programs, games, and in the enterprise, only smaller and proof-of-concept apps. Today, strong PaaS tools like SaaS Maker from Virtual Global are making it possible to create and deploy enterprise-class cloud apps.
There is a certain democratization of programming involved, and this has been the trend ever since we stopped using those annoying punch cards so many years ago. As it gets easier, more people can create apps, and that back-room mystery is becoming a front-line productivity tool.
While SaaS Maker can be used to create highly robust, enterprise-class apps, the greatest potential of the PaaS tool is in spurring innovation and bringing in a new class of entrepreneur. “Using SaaS Maker, developers can build, deploy, and sell SaaS applications with zero upfront investment, in sharp contrast to the venture backing or project funding that was required a few years ago,” said Cary Landis, Virtual Global CEO. “As a result, the software industry is on the brink of a new age of innovation fueled by entrepreneurship, worldwide participation, and a transition toward the ‘as a service’ delivery model.”
The major upgrade of SaaS Maker announced today now includes a SaaS Developer’s Console, an enhanced application designer, streamlined publishing, a high-performance .Net SDK, and a “Gizmo Exchange” for sharing cloud service adapters. The platform includes an open API, and is portable across data centers.
The demand for SaaS applications is expected to rise sharply over the next several years. According to Gartner, the SaaS market will reach $22.1 billion by 2015. At the same time, the cloud brokerage market is expected to reach $100 billion by next year. Landis suggests that SaaS development and brokerage cloud services should go hand-in-hand.
“Software developers want to do both things: Build applications andintegrate cloud services, and we’re simply making it easier for developers to do both things in one place,” says Landis. According to Landis, PaaS technology lowers barriers-to-entry and allows more developers to freely participate, inevitably shaking up the software development industry. The mega-million-dollar implementations of enterprise-class software, which suffered from a high failure rate as well as an untenable cost structure, are rapidly being replaced by a new as-a-service model. This model not only changes the underlying economics and operational structure of large enterprise users, it also brings in SMBs that were previously shut out of the market.