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PaaS Remains on Edge

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Research and Markets announced this week that they added a “PaaS Remains on Edge” report to their offerings, based on studies by Tech Strategy Partners, an analyst firm. A large portion of the report centers on the edge that developers have by developing on Force.com, but there was also a look at how Workday, NetSuite, and Intuit are making space in the enterprise application space.

During Dreamforce 09, Salesforce gave some impressive figures regarding Force.com. They claimed that 135,000 custom applications, and 10,000 sites have been built using the platform, and that 55% of the HTTPS transactions processed come through the API (while only 45% come from Salesforce’s own apps). We did not purchase the report, but it does evidently show how Force.com compares to similar offerings from NetSuite, Intuit, and Workday. Based on the Force-heavy content in the summary, it can be assumed that that PaaS is the favored subject.

Potential Force.com favoritism aside, there are some interesting notes from a study by Tech Strategy Partners. They note that PaaS is beneficial for both corporate and ISV developers, but corporate developers are more likely to leverage a PaaS. The reason being that they are less concerned that ISVs about long-term technology platform lock-in, and have generally different business models. ISVs tend to build applications similar to a PaaS vendor’s SaaS applications, and this adjacency is considered an “edge” (and the apps are “edge applications”).

Another fascinating prediction is that within the next five years or so, there will be less development (among both corporate and ISV programmers) on SaaS-provided PaaS, and that that the favored PaaS deployment will be a hybrid one. We’ve talked about the rise of the SaaS hybrid model before, and it’s interesting to see other services going that way as well. Tech Strategy Partners’ research also points to the fact that the PaaS hybrid model will offer developers the current benefits they reap from the service, as well as greater control over their development processes.