Essential Characteristics of PaaS

There’s been a lot of discussion on the Internet about the definition of Platform-as-a-Service. Here’s just a few very active Twitter discussions to illustrate the level of activity and passion over the topic:
This is just a few of the hundreds of tweets returned when I queried “Paas” and “definition”. The interesting thing is that the sheer breadth of the discussion makes it very difficult to nail down exactly what it is.

Gartner Group’s method of responding to the madness was to develop their own taxonomy of PaaS, which seems to have been very helpful for them in organizing their research, but, in contrast to many other things Gartner has led on defining, their PaaS taxonomy has not really caught on with the cloud community. The Gartner taxonomy breaks things out based upon the primary functionality of the platform, such as application development, business process management and event processing. However, this dichotomy actually impairs their ability to abstractly define the essential characteristics of a PaaS.

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