According to Gartner application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) “is a cloud service that offers development and deployment environments for application services.” In its recently published Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS), Garter divides the aPaaS field into two distinct groups: high control aPaaS and high productivity aPaaS.
High Control aPaaS
According to Gartner’s analysis, a high-control aPaaS is based on a lower-level programming language, such as Java, Ruby, .NET, etc, and allows application developers to design and code more advanced applications that what high-productivity aPaaS generally allows. Of course, the high-control approach also heaps greater responsibilities on the programmer when creating cloud applications, just as hand coding on-premises applications would. Developing and deploying finished cloud applications utilizing the HC approach, of course, takes longer than it would with the high-productivity approach.
High Productivity aPaaS
In contrast to high-control aPaaS, high-productivity aPaaS (what Forrester would call a low-code aPaaS) utilizes a model-driven, declarative approach to application design and development. One of the bigger differentiators among HP aPaaS vendors is their approach to model interpretation. Some vendors use the old-school code-generation approach. Others provide true, model-driven platforms that produce metadata that is interpreted at runtime. Virtually all HP aPaaS vendors allow extensions to their respective platforms to be written on one or more lower level languages.
Bi-Modal IT and aPaaS
These past few years, Gartner has placed significant emphasis on what it calls bi-modal IT—the need for IT departments to sustain two types of development efforts. Mode 1 development is traditional hand coding of applications and integrations among line-of-business systems and other major software systems. Mode 2 development, in contrast, is meant to be experimental, a methodology to keep pace with the need to innovate.
From Gartner’s perspective, the two types of aPaaS align with the two modes of development. High-control aPaaS is the right approach for mode 1 development—certain types of cloud-application initiatives that require a more granular approach. High productivity aPaaS, in contrast, is great for mode 2 development. Prototypes can be built in days, even hours, and can be deployed and tested with very little expense or planning, characteristics which facilitate experimental development.
AgilePoint NX, a High-Productivity aPaaS
While AgilePoint has been a long-time player in the iBPMS space and is positioned in Gartner’s most recent iBPMS MQ, AgilePoint NX, the company’s aPaaS has been in the market less than a year, and consequently, is not in this year’s aPaaS MQ. Just the same, AgilePoint is listed in the report as an aPaaS vendor of note.
AgilePoint NX targets specifically SaaS ISVs, who intend to build and license applications in the cloud. For this reason, AgilePoint NX includes a cadre of enterprise-class governance features, such as single-codebase multi-tenancy, rights management at the sub-tenant level, and single sign on.