Why a Private PaaS?
by Bart Copeland

Bart Copeland, September 14, 2011

When you hear of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) what typically comes to mind are names like Heroku, EngineYard, OpenShift, and These public PaaS providers feature a wide range of the core components of an application environment in the cloud, so that developers can focus on coding. And most IT issues related to configuring, deploying and scaling are off-loaded, allowing companies to avoid capital expenditures and application run-time issues.

What's a Private PaaS?

However, the private PaaS category is not as well known yet. Some people have questioned us on what that is, or why a private PaaS is even needed. This points to the fundamental reason why we created Stackato... because Stackato is not a PaaS service itself, but rather, a cloud platform that enables companies to create their own private PaaS. Essentially, think of it as having your very own that you control, behind your firewall, in your own private cloud.

Why would one need a Private PaaS?

To understand why a company would need a private PaaS, let's first take a look at why companies need a private IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service).

Many organizations have been leveraging public cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon EC2. But, other organizations - due to regulatory compliance, sensitivity of data, or reputation concerns - don't want their data hosted in a public, shared cloud. These organizations are creating their own private clouds using virtualization infrastructure such as VMware's vSphere, or working with private managed hosting providers. Think of this as your very own private, elastic Amazon EC2.

So for those companies, the public and shared nature of public PaaS providers like EngineYard or, doesn't work. Financial services, healthcare, and federal government applications are all examples of areas where they don't want to share space or be constrained by the one-PaaS-meets-all nature of PaaS providers. These organizations are demanding the benefits of a PaaS for their development teams, under their terms.

So we created Stackato... it's the P in PaaS, so companies can create a Service out of it on top of their vSphere or other cloud infrastructure.

Who would benefit from a Private PaaS?

Amongst the hundreds and hundreds of people testing Stackato, there are start-ups, systems integrators, custom software consulting firms, and large organizations that all want a private PaaS.

As one custom software consulting firm partner, Hannington Musinguzi of W&K Systems, said:

"With a lot of our business in the healthcare industry, we have to be HIPAA compliant around data security and privacy, so a private PaaS makes sense for us. We are impressed with Stackato's ability to bundle and deploy everything an application needs seamlessly, taking out all the complications around network security and dependency management. I was pleasantly surprised at having an application up and running in 10 minutes."

For large organizations where developers are paid to develop, and IT (or DevOps) is paid to configure and prepare production environments, oftentimes, IT has a difficult time keeping up with the demands of development teams. Yet they can't authorize use of a public PaaS to deliver what the business needs. So a private PaaS would help them reduce the amount of time spent on configuration and dependency management, and enable them to offer development teams a automatically configured application environment ready for deploy, hosting, and scaling apps in a private cloud.

IT/DevOps saves time by setting up once (instead of new environments for each application), and developers love it because they can deliver their applications to the cloud and to the market alot faster.

More on "Why Private PaaS is not an Oxymoron"

I'll be speaking more about this at Cloud Computing Expo in November. To get a FREE pass (value: $2,000) to Cloud Computing Expo in Santa Clara, CA, marcom [at] activestate [dot] com (email us) to make a request!

To check out Stackato for creating a private PaaS, learn more and request access here.

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Bart Copeland is our CEO and president. He's passionate about ensuring that everyone at ActiveState has a lot of fun while solving complex problems with applications that provide real benefit to our customers. He holds an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of British Columbia.