If you want to improve your delivery of applications to your users you might want to consider platform as a service.  Just what is platform as a service?  It is an extension of cloud computing.  It leverages the concept of cloud computing and provides an environment that you can deploy your applications to without having to maintain any of the necessary infrastructure.

This is a new technology, and so the products available are still evolving.  However, there is at least two main vendors that have developed solutions: VMWare and RedHat.  The product from VMWare is called Cloud Foundry and the product from RedHat is called Open Shift.

Cloud Foundry is available in several versions, including an open source version, a commercial version, and a developer version.  The open source version is located at http://cloudfoundry.org .  The commercial version is located at http://cloudfoundry.com .  The developer version is called Micro Cloud Foundry and must be run inside one of the VMWare virtual applications: VMWare Player, VMWare Fusion, or VMWare Workstation.

Cloud Foundry supports applications written in Java, Ruby, Grails, Scala, PHP, Python, and .NET.  Cloud Foundry provides services for your application including RabbitMQ, MySQL, MongoDB, PostreSQL, Redis, and others.

Open Shift is available in two versions, Express and Flex.  The Express version is a shared free version.  The Flex version is a dedicated commercial version.  Open Shift supports applications written in Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, and Java.  Open Shift provides services for your application including MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and MRG.

What I like about both of these products is that they remove all of the time and effort it takes to setup the infrastructure when creating a new application.  Instead, by building on the concept of cloud computing, these vendors have created Platform as a Service solutions that I can rely on.

More information on Cloud Foundry is at http://blog.cloudfoundry.com or http://www.twitter.com/#!/cloudfoundry .

More information on Open Shift is at http://www.redhat.com/openshift/blogs or http://www.twitter.com/#!/openshift