By now you’ve probably heard that we’re knee deep in a new socio-economic business model that’s been dubbed the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption. The premise of the sharing economy is that idle, privately owned resources can be shared or rented via peer-to-peer marketplaces—and this business model has captured the imaginations of enterprising startups and resource owners alike. There’s no shortage of eager consumers either as more and more people realize the ease at which they can get exactly what they need, when they need it, at a lower cost, and without the overhead that comes with one-to-one singular ownership. In fact, if you’ve ever used a car-, house-, bike-, tool-, dinner- or [insert resource here]-sharing service, it’s official: you’re a bona fide participant in the sharing economy.
But the sharing economy wouldn’t be the incredibly disruptive market force it is today without the underlying technology that makes it possible for thousands—millions—of people to interact with their peers using common frameworks. These frameworks are cloud platforms, which in and of themselves are each microcosms of the sharing economy.
Cloud platforms, also described as Platform as a Service (PaaS), allow developers to write applications that run in the cloud, or use services provided from the cloud, or both. This area of cloud computing has seen incredible growth—for reasons that parallel the principles behind the sharing economy: convenient, on-demand access to application development and hosting environments without the cost and complexity of acquiring and managing the underlying hardware and software infrastructure.
Today’s most prolific Software as a Service (SaaS) providers—Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Citrix, Uber to name a few—are also PaaS providers. When PaaS is tied to a SaaS environment, entire ecosystems organically sprout up as third-party software vendors leverage the platform and its APIs to create custom applications and services that enhance the platform’s offerings, connect it to other platforms, and further its reach.
PaaS providers can also be tied to specific operating environments such as Amazon Web Services or be agnostic to the underlying infrastructure. There are also innovative variations of PaaS such as Data Platform as a Service (dPaaS), which is what Liaison offers via its ALLOY™ platform.
Each different type of cloud platform has its own unique advantages and use cases, but they all offer at their cores the universal benefits that come with sharing computing resources: scalability, ease of use, lower cost, faster innovation, thriving ecosystems, and up-to-date technology. Cloud platforms are revolutionizing how software and services are developed and delivered, while simultaneously bringing technology, businesses, and people together at a level of collaboration that has never been seen—or been possible—before.
(If you’d like to learn more about Liaison’s dPaaS solution and the specific use cases that make it a desirable alternative to maintaining your own in-house integration system, download our brief on the topic titled 3 Use Cases for Cloud Integration Platforms.)