Reality Check: Does the World Need So Many Java PaaS Clouds?
Something caught my interest as I was looking through the last month or so of TalkinCloud coverage: What’s the deal with the sheer number of Java platform-as-a-service vendors out there? In the month of October alone, I spoke to or covered no fewer than eight vendors, all of which are trying to scratch this particular ISV itch.
By my reckoning, TalkinCloud has discussed the following Java PaaS vendors, and there may be more out there that simply haven’t made their presence known to us yet:
- Salesforce.com Force.com
- VMware Cloud Foundry
- Oracle Public Cloud (by way of Oracle Platform for SaaS)
- IBM SmartCloud Application Services
Now, Java is an open source standard and a pillar of the modern enterprise, don’t get me wrong. But with the exception of the IBM offering, all of the PaaS providers listed enable developers and enterprises to host the platform with the cloud service provider of their choice. That said, almost of all of them have a stated focus, if not an exclusive lock, on the Amazon EC2 compute cloud.
I’m sure some of the vendors involved are going to object to my lumping them together like this. Some of them, such as AppFog, say their key differentiator is an additional focus on PHP and other programming languages. IBM SmartCloud bills itself as the only truly enterprise-focused platform. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But it’s going to take a lot of work to really convince ISVs of the benefit of one platform over the other when, at least on paper, their value propositions are so, so alike.
Take a look at a cloud commodity such as hosted messaging services, for example. There’s enough of a demand that the market can support Microsoft Exchange, Google Gmail, Open-Xchange and other services quite comfortably. I’m not so confident that the same holds true for something as relatively niche as Java PaaS.
And it may be a quarter or it may be a year from now, but it’s my bet we see the market consolidate.