More enterprises have begun to see the cloud as a viable option for everything from physical servers to end user facing applications. This increased user demand is allowing companies such as data platform-as-a-service provider Cloudant to grow rapidly. The company announced that it is further expanding its data centers globally to improve reliability and performance.

Data Layer as a Service

Many people are familiar with software-as-a-service (SaaS) , which allows companies to leverage externally hosted applications and removes the need to manage updates, patches or configurations for continuous availability. Infrastructure-as-service (IaaS) is also pretty common because it provides a natural alternative for physical servers that might have already been hosted in an external data center. However, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) , the more ambiguously defined sibling of the cloud family, has not yet experienced widespread adoption.

PaaS is valuable. It eliminates the often frustrating, time-consuming and often error-prone magic that technologists spend managing and configuring platform components such as applications and databases. Because much of this work is done by developers and, in some instances, operations teams as a step in deploying or supporting an application, many companies aren’t aware of the complete cost or effort associated with these activities. However, many businesses are now operating in an environment where every outage is scrutinized and budgets are strained, so they are more open to exploring any option that might improve efficiency and service or lower cost.

The universe created by this need is where companies such as Cloudant exist. Cloudant offers what it refers to as a data layer as a service. The service provides a CouchDB repository with RESTful APIs and a number of features such as full-text search and analytics. However, the big win is that the service removes the repository management overhead and provides a highly available and scalable solution for storing data. 

Cloudant now has data centers in Europe, Asia and North America, including a new addition in Amsterdam built on SoftLayer servers. The existence of global data centers can improve reliability by replicating data across physically distributed servers to improve the likelihood that it will be available in the event of a disaster. The global expansion could also result in better performance for the company’s 7,000 customers, many of which have a highly distributed user base.

What’s Next

Signups for Cloudant’s service have doubled in the last year and the company named a new CEO in December. The company’s growth signals an increased willingness for technology leaders to externalize the management of their middle tier. As organizations become more aware of the complexity of many of the tasks associated with configuring, managing and deploying many of these components, PaaS adoption may begin to rival SaaS and IaaS adoption numbers.