As platform-as-a-service (PaaS) starts to gain traction in the enterprise, an opportunity to standardize on a common application development platform—both on-premises and in the cloud—is starting to present itself. Case in point is a new alliance between Microsoft and Apprenda under which Apprenda will deploy its PaaS environment on top of Microsoft Azure. Previously, the Apprenda PaaS environment was only available for deployment by internal IT organizations on a private cloud. Customers who license Apprenda will have a PaaS environment that includes Azure infrastructure at no additional cost.
Apprenda is designed to run both Microsoft .NET and Java applications. Deploying the Apprenda PaaS environment on Microsoft Azure is a major step toward creating a hybrid cloud computing environment that allows developers to invoke a common set of APIs, says Jesse Kliza, senior director of marketing for Apprenda.
For all the hype generated by cloud computing, the number of applications running on-premises still dwarfs the number of applications running in public cloud computing environments. If cloud service providers want enterprise IT organizations to make the move to the cloud, they need to find a way to make it easier to move application workloads between private clouds running on-premises and private and public cloud services supplied by an external provider.
The issue that Microsoft faces is that there is a fair amount of momentum building around the open source Cloud Foundry PaaS environment. Partnering with Apprenda provides Microsoft with the ability to give developers all the benefits of PaaS within the context of the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Apprenda may not be the only PaaS environment that Microsoft supports on Azure. But as enterprise IT organizations get more comfortable with developing applications at a higher level of abstraction on a PaaS environment, demand for PaaS environments is steadily increasing. In fact, one of the reasons for an organization to opt for one cloud service provider over another is the strength of the developer community that exists around the provider’s PaaS offerings.
As the house that support from Windows developers essentially built, Microsoft has a strategic interest in enticing as many of those developers as possible onto the Windows Azure platform. Of course, Apprenda can be deployed on other cloud services much like any other PaaS. But it’s pretty clear at this point that Apprenda is a significant piece of a larger PaaS puzzle that Microsoft has yet to completely reveal.