The goal of persistent programming is to support the activity of application construction for long-lived, concurrently accessed and potentially large bodies of data and programs, referred to here as Persistent Applications Systems (PASs). The Pastel consortium recognises that the individual components, methods and tools that support PASs have largely been developed independently by different research communities and different kinds of IT companies.

The result is that the designers and programmers working to build a PAS have to operate in an environment that is very complex. Pastel has the vision of a consistent and coherent environment which yields a quantum leap in the productivity of PAS software engineers. The Pastel project started in December 1996 for a duration of 36 months.