Apprenda pulls another Hail Mary, pivots to Kubernetes

The technology world moves fast. Apprenda shows, yet again, that it can roll with the punches and quickly move to where the puck is heading.

Apprenda has existed for many years. The vendor offers a platform as a service (PaaS) geared toward large enterprises software development needs. When it was first created, Apprenda was a pure-play .NET PaaS and told a story of the huge number of enterprises that were built upon .NET and needed a way to make their software development process faster and more efficient.

For whatever reason, that story didn't quite jell, and a few years ago Apprenda had a major shift from the ".NET pure play" story and became a "double pure-play vendor." Its platform was suddenly both a .NET specialist and a Java specialist resource.

Since then, however, a couple of big things have happened in the PaaS world. First, Cloud Foundry, the open-source PaaS created within VMware and now an independent foundation with buy-in from vendors such as SAP, Pivotal, HP and IBM, has, arguably, won the PaaS wars. While Red Hat's PaaS, OpenShift, tries its hardest to compete, it is up against a movement in Cloud Foundry that has almost blanket industry buy-in.

Second, the rise of containers generally and Docker specifically and the rapid uptake of the Kubernetes open-source orchestration system has changed the landscape and, again arguably, lessened the value proposition of traditional PaaS offerings. Kubernetes had its origin in Google's internal operating system, Borg, and was made open source and for public consumption, at least to an extent, as Google's attempt to head off the threat from Docker.

So given these changes, and Apprenda's uncanny ability to dodge bullets, it is interesting to hear the company announced today that it is adopting Kuberentes for part of its architecture. Specifically, Apprenda will integrate its existing cluster management stack and operational suite with Kubernetes, providing a single platform for both existing and new, cloud-native applications. According to Apprenda, bringing Kubernetes into the fold will create significant benefits, including fast scaling for containers, features for building custom cloud-native apps (such as pods), and support from the largest open-source community in the market.

The company is quick to point out that it will still provide Windows and Linux capabilities for new and existing applications. The architectural change will be additive and non-disruptive to how Apprenda's technology behaves today. Apprenda customers' experiences post-Kubernetes will be exactly like their experiences pre-Kubernetes, but will now include "enhanced cloud-native capabilities."

People have written Apprenda off many times in the past. While this is a pretty jarring move given the company's history, it would be a brave person who would suggest that this was a last-ditch effort to remain relevant.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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