I started writing this entry a few months back, but what with JavaOne, JUDCon, various customer engagements and a slight smattering of vacation, it's taken me longer than I expected. However, there has been one advantage to the delay: a lot of the reasons I mentioned previously that have taken me away from writing this piece have also helped to re-enforce the fact that we're on the right track.
So where to begin? Well I've written quite a few things over the past few months about Cloud and PaaS, whether that's about multi-tenancy, public/private Clouds, JeAS, PaaS, Platforms of Services, Cloud as the death of middleware (it's not!), or our own JBoss efforts in the Cloud. Underlying many of them (particularly those that talk about middleware) is the idea that the Platform for Cloud applications requires many (all?) of the capabilities that we use today in our non-Cloud deployments: just migrating into the Cloud doesn't mean your concerns about security or reliability that made you choose one solution over another for your data centre are invalid; if anything they become even more important! So whether you want to take existing applications into the Cloud (more likely) or develop new ones from scratch, you need the platform you code against and ultimately deploy into, to support those key features, such as security, transactions, messaging etc.
But of course Cloud means that you don't want to pay for these aspects, or the platform, and have it sitting around idle for 90% of the time. You only want to pay for it when you use it. This is the pay-as-you-use aspect we're always hearing about: it's a service (hence PaaS). And for those users who are interested in open source, standards based solutions, this is precisely where JBoss middleware comes into play. Today we have many customers who use our enterprise platforms successfully, including EAP, Portal and SOA-P. I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to how many of them will want to move to the Cloud, but of those who do, and future Cloud-specific customers, they'll naturally expect a service-like arrangement for our platforms. This is precisely what we're doing with the Cloud Foundations effort that I mentioned a few months back.
In terms of PaaS, we're working on turning our existing platforms in an "as a service" offering. This includes tooling (e.g., JBDS) as well as monitoring/management aspects. So pretty soon you'll be able to develop your Seam-based application, or your EJB3 pet store, locally and then deploy them "out" to a Cloud running the right version of the JBoss platform you want, which will spin up your application when it's needed. So you'll only pay for what you need (e.g., EAP) when you need it. It'll be JBoss As A Service, or, because it's a cooler play on words, JBossAS A Service!