CloudBees enterprise PaaS bites the dust

Run@Cloud's deprecation signals tough times in the enterprise public PaaS space

CloudBees has decided to pull the plug on Run@Cloud, its PaaS aimed at enterprise Java developers. Instead, the company is concentrating on hosted professional editions of Jenkins, the open source continuous integration/deployment system, along with a partnership with Pivotal.

This is the latest sign of tough times in the enterprise public PaaS space. Many of the items businesses formerly would have relegated to an infrastructure-like public PaaS are now accomplished through open source solutions like Pivotal's CloudFoundry or Red Hat's OpenShift.

CloudBees was one of several public PaaS offerings that InfoWorld profiled in 2012. The service stood out for being a PaaS first and foremost, not an offshoot of a more general software company looking to make a presence in the PaaS world. It also stood out for its focus on Java (and, thus, the enterprise), as well as for its integration of Jenkins.

According to a discussion with CloudBees founder Sacha Labourey at Jaxenter.com, CloudBees saw more of a market for its customers in enterprise Jenkins than in its own Java PaaS. To that end, CloudBees decided "the right thing to do" was to put its effort behind enterprise Jenkins.

Consequently, CloudBees is still keeping a public PaaS in its portfolio: its hosted Jenkins-as-a-service product, Dev@Cloud. The company is also pairing up with the aforementioned Pivotal as a way to put Jenkins into the hands of enterprises via Cloud Foundry.

Jay Lyman, a senior analyst with 451 Research, noted how public PaaS offerings, despite having plenty of time to evolve, aren't bringing in business from enterprises overall.

"Enterprises are reluctant to put applications or workloads on a public PaaS," he wrote in an email, "mainly because of lack of control over data, security, compliance and regulatory issues, and other legitimate enterprise concerns." There may be the individual PaaS that finds some enterprise appeal -- IBM's Bluemix, Heroku, and again Pivotal -- "but enterprise use of public PaaS is limited, particularly when we talk about production applications and services.

"Even though CloudBees might not call it [private PaaS]," he added, "what they are offering with their enterprise Jenkins offerings and support is very similar to private PaaS -- it's behind the firewall, and it's intended for enterprise application release teams and processes."

Enterprises have plenty of other ways to accomplish the same things the legacy PaaSes have done, but more flexibly. Mike Gualtieri, a principal analyst for Forrester, noted in an email that "generally PaaS is getting squeezed out by IaaS and SaaS providers who both increasingly provide more developer-oriented services and frameworks."

Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of Thinkstrategies, sees CloudBees's backing away from its Java PaaS as evidence of how tough it is for smaller companies to build a sustainable business with PaaS. "It's a catch-22 problem for the PaaS vendor," he said in an email. "ISVs and enterprise decision-makers are reluctant to build solutions on PaaSes offered by smaller providers because they are concerned the PaaS provider might not survive, could be acquired by another company, and so on."

In that light, it makes sense for CloudBees to ally itself with an established partner like Pivotal instead of going it alone in a market that's looking elsewhere anyway.

This story, "CloudBees enterprise PaaS bites the dust" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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