The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market is growing considerably, and according to the latest research from MarketsandMarkets, the cloud computing segment is still on track to reach a value of nearly $7 billion by 2018.

But for now, the market has already grown since the company released its market data late last year, growing to an estimated $1.28 billion this year from $1.23 billion in 2013. According to MarketsandMarkets, the expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the global PaaS market is 32.54 percent.

Some industry experts say that although software as a service (SaaS) is still the big growth area within the cloud segment, PaaS is the next big up-and-comer. As more enterprises and developers move their development workloads to the cloud to take advantage of economics and flexibility inherent in as-a-service offerings, PaaS is growing in popularity.

For cloud services providers dealing in PaaS at one level or another, it means potentially huge gains in revenue over the next few years.

It also seems likely there will be new faces appearing over the next few years. Look at the emergence of IBM BlueMix and Big Blue's plans to offer more than 200 partner solutions via Bluemix as an example of one new player that will likely play a major role in the development of PaaS products.

The research firm mentioned that many smaller players are emerging in the market. "Also many small players specializing in providing PaaS solutions have emerged and made the market so dynamic and competitive. This trend has benefited most of the application users and has increased the demand for PaaS on various sectors," the company wrote.

MarketsandMarkets noted that PaaS has been the smallest of the as-a-service segments so far, but its growth is accelerating.