Big changes in store for the PaaS market

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There's no doubt that the platform-as-a-service market is crowded. In addition to the independent PaaS vendors, infrastructure-as-a-service providers like Amazon have gotten into the game, as have traditional enterprise technology vendors. They won't all survive.

"Any market starts off with a cast of thousands and gradually gets consolidated until you get down to two or maybe four big dogs," says John Rymer, an analyst at Forrester. "I don't know why this market would be any exception to that pattern."

Consolidation has already begun. PaaS provider Engine Yard gained PHP functionality by acquiring Orchestra. Salesforce bought Heroku to reach a wider range of users than its Force.com could attract. Oracle has invested in Engine Yard.

In addition to Oracle, other big traditional enterprise vendors have also entered the market but have been slow to get their footing. IBM, Oracle, HP, Microsoft and SAP have announced commercial, beta or planned PaaS services.

In a survey conducted in last year's third quarter, Forrester asked developers which vendors they used for PaaS, IaaS and other cloud services. None of the big companies made the list, says Rymer. But now Forrester is asking the same question in a new survey and he says preliminary results show that the roster now includes cloud offerings from IBM and Oracle.

New Model for the Big Vendors

Some of the big vendors have been slow to enter the market because there's not a lot of money there and enterprises are just beginning to adopt PaaS, Rymer says.

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