The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market will become increasingly fraught during 2011, according to a new report by analysts at Gartner, with a "wave of innovation and hype" making it "harder to find a consistent message, standard of clear winning vendor," according to vice president and distinguished analyst Yefim Natis.
PaaS, defined by Gartner as the middleware layer of the cloud software stack that intermediates between the underlying infrastructure and the overlaying application software, looks set to explode during 2011, with a multitude software vendors expected to either launch of expand their offerings.
"By the end of 2011 the battle for leadership in PaaS and key PaaS segments will engulf the software industry," said Natis. "Early consolidation of specialised PaaS offerings into PaaS suites will also be evident."
He added: "New vendors will enter the market through acquisitions or in-house development."
Gartner's soothsayers predict that the variety of specialised PaaS offerings will consolidate to a few major infrastructure service suites by 2014, and by 2015 will drive organisations into cloud computing as it reaches maturity.
"This represents an opportunity for new software providers to build a presence. It is also a major technical and business challenge to the established vendors - to retain their leadership by expanding into the new space without undermining their strength in the on-premise market," said Natis.
Gartner reckons that the majority of organisations will have their back-end software functioning in the cloud by the mid-point of the decade, with hybrid environments dominating.