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OrangeScape Using aPaaS To Battle The Force.com

Visual Development Platform Offers to "Write Once, Cloud Anywhere"

"We see PaaS as the key to competitive advantage, while IaaS and SaaS are really commodities," says Ashish Bhagwat, Vice President of Chennai-based OrangeScape.

Within this context, the company has outlined a strategy of "metadata" Application PaaS - the company formally calls it Visual aPaas - to compete with Force.com for the minds, hearts, and budgets of enterprises worldwide.

OrangeScape has already won some big customers in India - including Citibank, Unilever, AstraZenica and Pfizer - and is now focusing on expanding its activities to other markets, primarily in the Americas and Europe. It recently won an order for 7,000 user subscriptions from a major food company in the UK.

The idea of aPaas is not entirely new, having been defined and outlined by Gartner a couple of years ago. Within the world of Platform-as-a-Service, it stands in contrast to Integration PaaS (or iPaaS), a field characterized by enterprise application integration (EAI) and companies such as MuleSoft, Boomi, and CastIron.

OrangeScape's focus on metadata that's interpreted at runtime distinguishes it from framework software (such as Salesforce's Heroku and the Google App Engine), and from "instance" aPaaS, a province of Microsoft Azure and Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk.

Visual PaaS Sees the Way
Additionally, the company takes a visual approach that aims to bridge the still-yawning gap between business and IT within most enterprises. "We call this the balance conundrum," says Ashish. "On one side you see business-oriented 'citizen developers' who are focused on abstraction and productivity; on the other you see old-line professional developers who are focused on code and control."

Ashish adds that the company thinks of citizen developers as "white-collar" developers who are part of the line-of-business (LOB) organization, whereas the coders are "blue-collar" developers who live within the IT organization. "By addressing these two extremes of capability requirements through a unified platform," he says, "we can help enterprise IT leaders transform information technology into business technology."

To me, this is a fascinating concept, and I'll be following up with OrangeScape in an additional interview later.

This IT Matters
For now, OrangeScape likes to point out how PaaS is the area within Cloud Computing's XaaS continuum in which companies can separate themselves from competitors.

SaaS - as epitomized by Salesforce.com - on the other hand offers the same, essentially commoditized capability to anyone who uses it, in Orangescape's worldview.

The same can be said for companies taking advantage of IaaS from, say, Amazon, IBM, or Google - although the flexibility of these services allows smaller companies to think big and act big in a way that clearly differentiates them from competitors who don't use it or aren't as aggressive in using it.

In any case, with PaaS, companies are able to create their dreams on someone else's hardware - the only theoretical limit is on their own creativity. PaaS is really not so much a service as it is a set of tools that comes with a big, unseen foundry in the sky.

Write Once, Cloud Anywhere
Ashish likes to point out the ability of PaaS in general to deliver apps quickly; to deliver the coming "petabyte" apps that will need to handle a new era of Big Era being driven by business analytics and mobile devices; to develop the stateless services that are a must for true scalability; and to deliver a variety of apps, whether departmental or transactional.

He also touts OrangeScape's ability to deliver applications in a "cross-cloud" environment that allows the apps to run within different infrastructures - or "write once, cloud anywhere," as the company says in a clever update of the famous "write once, run anywhere" mantra of the Java programming language.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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