Bob Bickel just posted a thoughtful examination of the state of our middleware market, and ponders whether Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the wave of the future. He sees PaaS following the path of app servers in the 1990s, which took some time to catch on in enterprises:
"The wake-up call has happened. It is clear that PaaS will displace app servers and infrastructure virtualization needs for at least web apps over time. The long term advantages of cost, flexibility and speed of change will win out as they have in previous cycles."
Applications and systems get more complex every year, and many companies may find the path of least resistance to tap into middleware that is run by someone else. App servers shielded developers from the intricacies of standards and protocols, enabling them to focus more on the business problem at hand. But Java Enterprise Edition is tough to learn and implement. PaaS makes middleware available without the need for a major deployment and education.
The question is, will companies and their development managers be comfortable with having the foundation of their IT infrastructure running offsite in the cloud? The Amazon Web Services outage in April was a reminder that things may happen beyond their control.