Each year the folks over at Gartner stick out a number of Magic Quadrants for a range of technology markets. Magic Quadrants are probably the simplest form of market analysis out there, providing concise overview of vendors within a specific market sector, such as Platform as a Service. As the name suggests, Magic Quadrants split a particular sector into four segments:
3. Niche players
Vendors within that sector are graded against their ability to execute and their completeness of vision. It’s that simple. Gartner then provide some nice narrative and analysis to go along with each vendor that makes it into the quadrant. This recognition pays massive dividends for the vendor and also potential customers.
So what is Platform as a Service? It is that bit in the middle between infrastructure and the actual software apps, and it’s often simply referred to as PaaS. It is a category of cloud computing that provides a platform and environment to allow developers to create applications and services which are then delivered over the internet.
To demonstrate how Platform as a Service sits alongside Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service, and to list some of the key players within each market, see below:
IaaS – Amazon Web Services, Rackspace
A number of industry analysts predict Platform as a Service to be the next battleground in tech. The evidence is there to back this up – it’s the magical middle layer in the cloud stack which is driving innovation through the ever-expanding armies of software developers building apps to leverage the scalability of the cloud.
It seems like only yesterday Salesforce1 was announced and the accolades are already rolling in. Gartner analysts recognise the Salesforce1 platform as clear leader in the Platform as a Service market space.
The launch of Salesforce1 was a clear sign by Salesforce that they are racing ahead as a platform company, which is a far cry from where they originally started 15 years ago. The journey to platform supremacy started long before this. This recognition is the result of changes which started many many years ago. I remember clearly how I first encountered these changes: at the time I was sitting in an all hands meeting at a company called Netsuite when Salesforce.com first announce Force.com. The Netsuite CEO was saying Salesforce is just a dumb database in the cloud, it’s just a bunch of forms with no value. I guess hindsight is a great thing, as this is exactly the strategy NetSuite are pursuing now with SuiteCloud platform.
It seems that platforms were more than just last year’s focus. Platforms have always been the focus, past, present and future, and more so now than ever with Salesforce1.
Salesforce1 has the lowest barrier to entry for any wannabe innovator – time; simply invest your time. Anyone can fire up a development environment – or many environments if that’s what tickles your fancy – and start building that next cool app, but the really cool thing is that it’s the community which surrounds their ecosystem that makes it stand out.
What good is a platform with no community? Salesforce blew off the doors very early on and built one of the largest and warmest communities of users the new cloud era has ever seen. The Answers community pushed passed its one millionth user the other day. Add to this the expanding developer boards and third party sites such as StackExchange and you start to see why Salesforce’s platform reigns supreme.