Industry Voice: How cloud and managed service providers can increase profitability and get closer to customers with Platform-a-as-Service

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Defining Platform-as-a-Service

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a form of cloud computing where hardware and an application software platform is provided by another party. Primarily for developers and programmers, a PaaS allows them to develop, run, and manage their own apps without having to build and maintain the infrastructure or platform usually associated with the process.

Customer interest in PaaS

Customers are aware that with their platform delivered "as-a-service" by a second party they can focus on more important tasks, such as building new applications to enable business innovation, and creating offerings for market differentiation. Other as-a-service options are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

With IT departments under constant pressure to enable innovation while keeping the lights on, as well as developing new applications, they are looking to modernize existing applications to gain new value from existing IT investments.

Developers and programmers are looking to do this using microservices and containers based approaches. They have the ideas and can write the code to develop and deploy applications,  but may not have or want the equipment and the hassle of maintaining that equipment in their own facilities.

For them, PaaS is a great option as they can sync their code with a PaaS and run their app using the provider's hardware and software—the maintenance and upkeep of which are handled for them. This clears the way for further development and innovation with less distraction, while reducing the amount of infrastructural setup and coding. PaaS also offers them scalability and easy migration because it exists in a cloud.

The PaaS opportunity for cloud and managed service providers

Red Hat and CRN recently surveyed 150 EMEA decision makers representing organizations from industries including banking and finance, logistics, manufacturing, retail and education. The results showed a clear opportunity for service providers to capitalize on the significant PaaS margins, and create a closer connection with customers at the same time:

  • 58% of respondents had increased their use of PaaS services over the last three years.
  • Over 65% of enterprises are increasing the extent to which they use service providers for infrastructure, cloud and services.

With 69% considering PaaS attached to IaaS, and 44% considering PaaS attached to SaaS, over the next three years, there is a clear opportunity for service providers with skills in these areas, particularly as 88% are concerned with a lack of in-house platform skills and knowledge gaps on legacy systems. Partners can monetize the opportunity by filling the skills gaps in microservices, containerization and Kubernetes - and helping customers bring applications to market earlier.

Service providers that build skills around IaaS providers (e.g. AWS and Azure), and SaaS providers (e.g. SalesForce and Workday), will find themselves in a complimentary, rather than competitive position, and be able to create associated consulting and service opportunities with customers. There is also the opportunity for service providers to address concerns businesses have about hyperscale IaaS providers. 45% of our survey respondents cited concerns about vendor lock in and just under 40% had general security concerns. This shows there is a market for service providers to offer professional services and training that add value to hyperscale offerings.

Businesses also want complex applications to be managed by the experts and to offload traditional commodity based IT. Service providers who can offer excellent service, predictable costs, security and reliability, can monetize these opportunities.

Partnering with Red Hat for PaaS

Red Hat® PaaS solutions provide secure, on-demand app stacks that allow apps to be built with a  single click, with the flexibility to grow and expand as ideas do. The portfolio allows optimal application modernization via DevOps and microservices using agile methods.

With Red Hat OpenShift®, service providers can offer a consistent hybrid cloud foundation for building and scaling containerized applications. They can use it for their own developers, as well as for their customers' developers, and benefit from automated life-cycle management for increased security, tailored operational solutions, and app portability.

Service providers can also provide advice on modernization approaches for customers' current applications, how to integrate the moderinzed application portfolio, how to scale and orchestrate applications, and how to meet the service levels required. In turn they can offer services to deliver these.

Join the Red Hat EMEA Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP) partner program

The Red Hat EMEA Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP) partner program certifies cloud and managed service providers to host and resell Red Hat PaaS offerings on-demand through multi-tenant, dedicated, and managed models. By offering Red Hat technology to customers as a service, members can align to, and capitalize on, customers' buying programs.

Red Hat offers partners the guidance, support, and education to develop skills in areas such as microservices, containers and Kubernetes, and remain compliant with Red Hat policies and procedures. Markus Speth, chief marketing officer, at Red Hat CCSP VSHN - The DevOps Company, says:

"As a lean startup, we have focused on operating IT platforms through automation, agility and a continuous improvement process. Completely location-independent and without our own hardware, cloud or datacenters, we operate and run our customers applications according to the DevOps principle agile and 24/7 on every infrastructure, so that software developers can concentrate on their business and IT operations are relieved."

Through the CCSP program, service providers can move on from offering basic cloud infrastructure, to the higher margins offered by PaaS. Join the community of over 400 Red Hat EMEA Certified Cloud and Service Providers, to benefit from new skills capabilities, enhanced enablement and new technology offerings that create revenue, and keep you competitive in the cloud service market.

Learn more about the Red Hat EMEA Certified Cloud and Service Provider partner program.

Colin Fisher
Director, Cloud Providers, Red Hat EMEA

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