2015 may see great PaaS adoption among federal agencies

Cloud integration is, without a doubt, among the most dynamic, exciting trends currently occurring in the federal government. By embracing cloud computing, agencies have the potential to vastly improve their capabilities, efficiency and overall productivity. 

But while the federal government is quickly moving to adopt cloud solutions, it is important to note that agencies are not deploying every type of cloud computing service in equal measure. While Software-as-a-Service – the most common form of cloud computing – has achieved significant popularity, Platform-as-a-Service remains less widely utilized. This, however, may change over the course of 2015, as FCW recently reported.

PaaS reluctance
As the news source pointed out, there are a number of reasons why PaaS has not seen the level of adoption or enthusiasm among federal agencies that other cloud services have experienced. Notably, PaaS solutions were originally only available via public cloud offerings. This raised cybersecurity concerns among federal decision-makers, especially those who were only beginning to enter the realm of cloud computing. 

However, FCW asserted that the single biggest obstacle to broader PaaS adoption may have simply been confusion. 

"While Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is now a familiar concept and the paired pressures of FedRAMP and data center consolidation have put Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) on most agencies' radar, PaaS remains something of the muddle in the middle – more easily defined by what it isn't than what it is," the source explained.

PaaS adoption accelerating
Despite these obstacles and the relatively slow pace of PaaS adoption, these services are poised to see greater use in 2015. Speaking to FCW, Federal Communications Commission CIO David Bray indicated that his agency is now overtly pursuing PaaS solutions. 

Additionally, Bray told the source that a number of other federal agencies have also begun to adopt PaaS services. Most notably, the Department of Defense and several intelligence agencies now have functional PaaS solutions up and running. Many other agencies are now in the planning stage and will likely move forward with PaaS adoption plans in the coming months.

This does not mean that PaaS usage among federal agencies will suddenly surge forward, however. As one senior developer explained to the source, moving to a PaaS solution is a more significant endeavor than the more modest cloud integration required for SaaS adoption.

"PaaS has a greater degree of ease and efficiency, but it also comes with a significant loss of freedom. The needs [can be] so diverse that paying for and committing to a Platform as a Service doesn't make a lot of sense right now," the developer told FCW.

Cloud advancements
The rise of PaaS among federal agencies will likely yield very positive results for the government as a whole. PaaS offers new opportunities to federal IT teams, allowing agencies to explore new strategies and improve operations in numerous ways. These offerings are broader and more customizable than most other forms of cloud services.

Yet as the source made clear, PaaS adoption can be a complicated endeavor, and even those groups that are eager to take advantage of the technology plan to do so in a slow, deliberate fashion. Fortunately, though, there are ways of simplifying and improving the process of PaaS adoption. Most notably, federal agencies should consider working with third-party cloud integration specialists as they pursue PaaS solutions. These consulting firms can offer guidance and expertise, making PaaS adoption simpler, faster and more likely to deliver positive results immediately. To see these results, though, agencies must be careful to partner with trustworthy, proven cloud integration service providers.