Worldwide platform as a service (PaaS) revenue is on pace to reach $707.4 million in 2011, up from $512.4 million in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. The market will experience consistent growth with worldwide PaaS revenue totaling $1.8 billion in 2015.

"Cloud has three technological aspects—infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and finally software as a service (SaaS)," said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "While SaaS is the most developed aspect, PaaS is the least developed, and it is where we believe the battle between vendors is set to intensify."

Initial PaaS products primarily supported application server capability, but the market has since expanded to encompass other middleware capabilities as a service, such as integration, process management, and portal and managed file transfers (MFTs). PaaS offerings are increasingly set to take market share from the low end of the portal, application server and business process management (BPM) markets, but as the technology matures, PaaS offerings will also challenge the upper layers of the market.

Gartner analysts said PaaS offerings are likely to expand the application integration and middleware (AIM) market by bringing in a new range of organizations that otherwise would have been packaged application and office software users.

"One of the likely consequences of the cloud for the application integration and middleware (AIM) market is further market concentration," said Yefim Natis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "When application infrastructure is deployed on-premises, organizations can take a best-of-breed approach and integrate all acquired components in their data center. When middleware services are acquired in the cloud from different PaaS providers—the services remain in different data centers and resist optimized integration. Mainstream users of PaaS services will likely look for providers that deliver comprehensive and integrated PaaS functionality suites—forcing the specialist offerings to consolidate.”

Few providers deliver a comprehensive and integrated PaaS offering, and Gartner believes that such fragmentation will be impossible to deal with when users and service providers start to implement large-scale, business-critical applications requiring the simultaneous and in-concert use of multiple PaaS capabilities such as user experience, application servers, database management systems (DBMSs), security and messaging.

Gartner analysts predict a rapid aggregation of PaaS offerings into suites of functionalities, providing users with well-integrated and optimized platform services (from the same or different suppliers), co-located in the same data center to provide appropriate levels of performance, security, manageability and availability. This process will take place in steps. Initially, around 2013, PaaS functionalities will consolidate around specific usage scenarios, paving the way for integrated comprehensive PaaS offerings to emerge from 2015 and beyond.

"Clearly, from the attention given to this segment by the industry's giants, it is likely that they are viewing PaaS as a strategic undertaking as much as an incremental market opportunity," said Biscotti. "As PaaS suites mature, they may emerge as critical enabling technologies for many cloud-based businesses; at the same time, as companies adopt these platforms, the providers of the platforms will likely leverage them to expand their ecosystem, leverage their natively developed application services (SaaS) or extend their on-premises solutions."

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Forecast: Platform as a Service, Worldwide, 2010-2015, 3Q11 Update" at

Gartner analysts will examine how PaaS will change the IT strategy of IT leaders at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2011.