Last month CloudBees (previous CloudAve coverage), the Java PaaS provider and the company behind Jenkins, announced the availability of CloudBees AnyCloud, their multi-cloud strategy in an era where every cloud provider is offering support to multiple infrastructure services underneath. Though the news is a month old, I got briefed by them recently and the discussions got me thinking about a lesson which other cloud service providers can learn as they target large enterprises. I thought I will put out my thoughts here and get feedback.
How is CloudBees AnyCloud any different?
CloudBess is a Java PaaS player offering full lifecycle solutions for cloud application development and deployment for Java. Currently, they are focussed on Java and JVM container and support Java EE 6 web profile. They offer a browser based development environment called DEV@Cloud and cloud based runtime environment called RUN@Cloud. This is a pretty comprehensive Java offering and slowly they are seeing some traction for their services. However, if any PaaS vendor is serious about reaching out to enterprise customers, they need to address their concerns about security, latency, regulatory demands, etc.. This need has started a trend that goes under the name Private PaaS, the software needed to set up a PaaS environment inside an organization’s data centers. Some of the players in this space include Cumulogic, Apprenda, CloudFoundry, WSO2, etc.. Moreover, the lock-in concerns have pushed all the PaaS vendors to offer their services on top of multiple cloud infrastructure. CloudBees AnyCloud is one such offering but with a twist.
Most of the PaaS vendors targeting enterprise customers with private PaaS solutions offer a software that can be deployed on their premise. Even though solves the purpose, their customers face issues similar to what that had in the traditional software world. Also, from the vendor side, they cannot offer some of the advantages that comes with cloud services like seamless universal software updates, monitoring, reduction in ops, etc.. Even though enterprises wanting to have private PaaS have large ops investments, the software based approach requires further investment on the ops side. CloudBees has taken an approach that attempts to minimize the additional burden associated with the private PaaS platform. Instead of offering PaaS solution as a software, they still offer it as a service while also giving the enterprises the option to keep the applications (running on PaaS) and the data inside the firewall. The following figure shows how their PaaS is architected for deployments inside the firewall.
The advantage of this kind of architecture for the vendor is that they can still have the advantages of offering the platform as a service (such as seamless universal updates, monitoring, seamless maintenance, etc.) while reducing the operational burden on the customer side. Even if the customer leave CloudBees, they will be able to run their apps without any major disruption. They will only lose some of the services like monitoring that are built inside the CloudBees platform.
Even though the comparison is not exact, this approach is philosophically similar to Salesforce’s Data Residency Option for Database.com. The idea is to let the mission critical apps and data (in the case of database.com, it is just the data) inside the firewall while giving enterprises the option to take advantage of cloud. This is a win-win situation for both the cloud vendors and cloud users. In terms of buzzwords, this is neither NoOps nor DevOps but SomeOps.
My question to vendors, users and pundits reading this post is: Do you think this approach by cloud vendors in SaaS and PaaS segments could address the enterprise concerns and help large scale cloud adoption? Alternately, coming from the hosted providers point of view, does this offer an opportunity for hosted PaaS or SaaS vendors to reach more enterprises. Please add your thoughts below or contact me personally.