Banking on Java

Apprenda bolsters private PaaS with arrival of "first class" Java support

There’s generally two schools of thought to a cloud platform. The bigger and already established fish, like VMware and Red Hat go polyglot and offer support to a variety of languages. Smaller companies looking to make headway in the fiercely competitive field tend to opt for a single language approach, perfecting their specialised platform before branching out further.

New York startup Apprenda have gone down the second route, with a privately-hosted PaaS running exclusively .NET - until now. CEO Sinclair Schuller has previously been a strong advocate of the solitary language PaaS, stating that being a jack of all trades “doesn’t work” when the languages are all so different. But with this week’s adoption of Java, it appears Schuller has changed his mind.

Not so, Schuller explains in an interview which appears on the company website: the plan all along was to support Java, once they had honed in support in the underserved .NET market. Schuller believes that 90% of their customers’ apps “are written either in .NET or Java” so it seemed natural to “offer best in class” for the language.

With so many platforms already offering support for Java, Apprenda’s key selling point is its ability to turn a single tenant application into a multi-tenant one.

“You build your app using standard web app principles, bundle it up, push it to Apprenda, then specify what you want from the platform,” Apprenda's chief executive Sinclair Schuller told The Register. However, some companies might be unwilling to hand so much work to Apprenda in fear of vendor lock-in.

In keeping with the company’s focus on corporate customers, often worried by perceived security risks in public clouds, the platform is a private one.

Alongside the announcement, Apprenda revealed that banking juggernaut JPMorgan Chase were using the platform in around 2000 custom applications written in both Java and .NET, in what Schuller claims is the “largest private PaaS deployment in the world.” Not a bad customer to have in your portfolio.

Apprenda’s biggest competition in the Java space according is arguably Cloud Foundry, whose future is still unknown after VMware moved it to the Pivot Initiative. Apprenda’s decision to offer Java support makes complete sense for the type of customer they want to acquire, but will they be willing to follow JPMorgan Chase’s lead?

Chris Mayer

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