“This year companies are focusing their attention on private and hybrid clouds.  Numbers show that hybrid cloud adoption is on fire while Docker and DevOps’ presence becomes indisputable.  2015 may have been the year of the cloud, but this year it is unstoppable; if surveys are right, we should expect 2016 to become the true year of the cloud”.  According to Bernard Golden of CIO magazine, the battle of the infrastructure is over, applications will be the push going forward.  Businesses, especially small and medium size businesses have accepted the fact that in many cases moving their infrastructure to the cloud is a no-brainer. But are they ready to move their applications and if so, how so.  And how to make sense of the different ‘as a Service’ solutions.  I think this graphic is extremely helpful in identifying where in the cloud you might want to be. There are three predominant cloud models:

Infrastructure as a Service: Service provider manages the hardware while the service consumers deals with the entire software stack including operating system, database management system, runtime environment, supporting software and middleware, applications and data. Consumer is responsible for all the feeding and care of the software stack.

Platform as a Service: Service provider is responsible for all the hardware, the software stack and the development environment.  Consumer is responsible for the applications and data.  PaaS creates an environment that lets the application developer concentrate on delivering business logic then use services made available by the PaaS to make it possible to deliver that business logic generally via a web browser or mobile application.

Software as a Service: Service provider is responsible for everything – hardware, software stack, application and data.  Consumer pays the bills and runs the applications.

 

All of these solutions have their place but it is important for those wishing to move their applications to the cloud that they understand what each provides and what skill sets they need to have to be successful.  Clearly for SaaS no IT skills are required and an organization that can successfully operate entirely with SaaS applications can eliminate their need for IT personnel.  IaaS requires a skill set similar to the ones currently ensconced in most on premise IT departments.  PaaS is where there seems to be an increasing need for skill development – architects and designers of PaaS software need to understand how to design applications for the cloud - taking advantage of cloud features such as scalability and virtualization.  They also need to be familiar with PaaS development environments.  Organizations that desire to migrate capability to the cloud need not only to assess their needs but also their capabilities as they determine the right solution(s) for their needs.