Apprenda CEO: Competition Non-Existent in .NET PaaS Space
In late November 2011 Apprenda, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider for enterprise companies, released its Apprenda 3.0 solution featuring more manageability and platform support for developers. Shortly after the release I spoke with Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller to learn about the company’s background and the state of competition in the PaaS market. My most surprising discovery? Schuller noted a lack of competition in the PaaS market for .NET applications. Here’s why:
“We’re seeing more competition now, but no one else is focusing on the .NET,” Schuller said. Apprenda attributes the lack of PaaS .NET competition to two factors:
- Research and development is easier around Java applications, meaning there’s an easier entrance into the marketplace if you’re developing PaaS for Java apps.
- Developers get nervous because Microsoft owns the .NET framework.
These factors don’t seem to bother Schuller, who said Apprenda is “happy to be part of the Microsoft ecosystem.” So what has Apprenda discovered that other PaaS providers have yet to catch on to? Schuller noted two untapped areas that Apprenda has since exploited — the lack of private cloud PaaS solutions and mobile PaaS.
“If you look at other PaaS providers, they wrote a lot of software, but it’s all tied to infrastructure,” he said. “But ours is portable. It can be installed anywhere you can get a traditional Windows Server. It can take over all Windows Servers that are working together and join them together to create a platform. Developers don’t have to worry about servers. They can tell Apprenda to run an application and it decides which server is best to run it on.”
Schuller’s idea to found Apprenda came from his enterprise IT background. Specifically, building accounting applications while employed at Morgan Stanley Portfolio Accounting. “We wrote web applications for Java in about one to four months, but then it took 30 to 90 days to get the applications deployed. And there was a lot of human error throughout that process,” he said. “Accountants want their applications delivered quickly. They were breathing down our necks, and when we scaled the applications across multiple projects, the application complexity becomes higher. We found ourselves rebuilding common components.” So Sinclair and a team of entrepreneurs decided to build Apprenda — a technology layer that’s sold as an application platform so developers don’t have to rebuild mission-critical components and IT staff can scale their applications.
The next step for Apprenda? The company has two releases each year with the next one scheduled for May 2012. Schuller said Apprenda is also focused on expanding the different types of applications its solution can support.