Apprenda wants you to build your apps for the cloud ... for free

Private PaaS allows application developers to build cloud features directly into their apps

Continuing on a theme of cloud vendors offering free or low-cost versions of their offerings, private platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company Apprenda this week launched a freemium "express" version of its application development service.

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But one cloud expert says Apprenda's move highlights a larger theme within the application development community around giving new applications cloud-like features while still building them behind your company's firewall -- hence the term private PaaS.

The PaaS market is the smallest of the three major cloud computing platforms compared to software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but Gartner PaaS analyst Richard Watson says it's basically broken down into two camps. The first are platforms that allow developers to take traditional applications and give them cloud characteristics. Watson calls these applications "earthborn-migrants," because the application is being redesigned to run in the cloud.

A second approach, which is what Apprenda allows users to do, is to build new applications specifically for use in the cloud or with native cloud-like features, such as multi-tenancy or dynamic scalability. These are cloud enabled application platforms (CEAP), Watson says.

"It's a platform for building the next 10 years worth of apps," says Apprenda's CEO Sinclair Schuller. The private PaaS service, he says, runs on an organization's own infrastructure, easing concerns for customers who may be hesitant to use the public cloud. He points to Honeywell and Symantec as companies that use the Apprenda platform. Last week Apprenda announced a free trial version of its private PaaS named Apprenda Express, which allows users to try the service without having to download it.

"Private PaaS definitely has a future," Watson says, especially for organizations looking to make sure new applications they build either have cloud-like features or will be able to run in the cloud now or in the future. The other common use case, Watson says, is for organizations to use private PaaS as a standard application development platform, either for developers within an organization or for partners to build applications in an organization's ecosystem.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.