CloudBees pivots from PaaS

Is the PaaS market dying?

CloudBees, a company in the platform as a service (PaaS) cloud market, announced today that is abandoning its application development platform in favor of focusing on commercializing and open source project named Jenkins, which is used in devops environments.

The move could be one of the first signs of consolidation in the PaaS market, which analysts have predicted could be rolled into the IaaS market.

door opening Jacques Kloppers

At CloudBees one door is closing and another is opening. 

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The PaaS market is much smaller than the IaaS and SaaS markets, but it occupies a strategic place in the cloud spectrum. Whereas IaaS is infrastructure for hosting applications and databases, and SaaS is for delivering those applications to users, PaaS represents an application development platform for building new applications.

Big IaaS companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google have been rolling out PaaS-like services, which puts pure-play PaaS companies in a bind. AWS, for example has services like Elastic BeanStalk and OpsWorks which help users deploy and automate management of applications running on its cloud. There is Google Application Engine (GAE) and the company has managed VMs for building and managing apps. Microsoft Azure began as a PaaS before it rolled out IaaS services.

Moves by those big IaaS companies led to 451 Research’s Jay Lyman earlier this year to question if the PaaS market as we knew it at the time was dying. Based on the CloudBees news from today, it appears that way.

There are a number of still healthy independent PaaS companies. Two examples are Pivotal, which runs the Cloud Foundry open source project and a commercialized product of the same name, and Apprenda, which was initially focused as a .NET PaaS but has expanded to be polyglot now (meaning it supports multiple programming languages). Both Pivotal and Apprenda are private PaaS options, which means customers run them on their own premises. There is also ActiveState, another PaaS company, and Red Hat has a PaaS named OpenShift that is heavily integrated with its RHEL Linux OS and OpenStack IaaS.

As for CloudBees, the company says it will focus on supporting and commercializing the open source Jenkins project now. Jenkins is a continuous integration service that monitors executions of changes made to an application or in an environment. So, for example, is there is a change made to an application’s code, Jenkins will automatically run predefined tests on the new code to ensure that it works. CloudBees’ Jenkins offering has been seeing strong growth, executives said. It provides hosted Jenkins, or support for setting up Jenkins on premises and allows multiple Jenkins servers to be managed together. CloudBees says that it is remaining in the PaaS market because of its Jenkins and developer focus, but it’s exiting the application-runtime portion of the PaaS market.  

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