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PaaS the parcel

CloudBees drops RUN@Cloud and partners up with Pivotal

JAX Editorial Team
Bumble bees via Shutterstock

CloudBees CEO explains to JAXenter why they’’re letting go of RUN@Cloud and focusing on Jenkins.

CloudBees has announced they are discontinuing their RUN@Cloud PaaS and realigning their focus to Jenkins Continuous Integration. Meanwhile, the Cloud specialists have announced a partnership with Pivotal which encompasses two of the very powerful cornerstones of IT: Cloud and Continuous Delivery (CD).

CloudBees’ CEO and co-founder Sacha Labourey gave us some background on the changes to their strategy.

“Since day one, the vision of CloudBees is really to provide an environment where companies and DevOppers can immediately get onto new projects and continuously deliver the application.”

“200% on Jenkins”

In the last year CloudBees, who received major funding from Verizon Ventures, came to realise that Jenkins, a key part of their portfolio was rapidly growing, and Labourey claims this is due to “shift from continuous configuration to continuous delivery (…). Jenkins is being used by all teams within the organisation to achieve CD and refine these kind of overall sidelines from code to production”

This has radically changed the discussion CloudBees are having with their customers and their business has grown impressively. The team, which come from a JBoss background, quickly realised there is an opportunity with Jenkins that should not be missed.

But the decision to run with Jenkins instead of PaaS was a difficult one, Labourey explains. “We love PaaS, we think it’s a defining technology but we thought the right thing to do for the company was to focus 200% on Jenkins because of the enterprise Jenkins company”.

CloudBees has announced that RUN@Cloud will go offline on December 31, 2014, and that the company will help its customers transition to another platform up to the end of October.

RUN@Cloud goes, DEV@Cloud stays

Labourey stressed that DEV@Cloud, a PaaS product will remain a part of CloudBees’ portfolio. The company will continue to invest in DEV@Cloud, and Labourey stresses that it is an important part of their strategy. The aim is to ensure customers can come to Jenkins not only on a cloud layer in the public cloud, but in also a custom fashion.

“They own their AWS account instead of Jenkins Enterprise on top. They should be able to leverage the AWS environment for elasticity. And then finally, as a pure SaaS, they don’t have to do anything, we handle all the management”

Partnering up with Pivotal

In other news, CloudBees has also announced a cooperation with Pivotal CloudFoundry. The two companies will collaborate in the development of enterprise grade continuous integration and delivery solutions for Pivotal CF PaaS. This means that Pivotal customers will be able to benefit from continuous integration and continuous delivery software for enterprises via a Jenkins Enterprise add-on.

When asked if this partnership impacted the decision to stop the cloud PaaS business, Labourey had the following to say: “As soon as we decided to stop doing PaaS (as in runtime PaaS) it became much easier for us to have that kind of discussion with companies like Pivotal. We had been in touch with Pivotal for a very long time, so they were very much interested in what we’re doing on the Jenkins and DevOps side of the house.” Cloudbees considers this to be the start of more partnerships to come.

When asked if Pivotal CloudFoundry is the logical replacement for RUN@Cloud, Labourey explained that “A lot of customers are actually on the public cloud. Pivotal as a company is not very much focused on the public cloud. They’re very much focused on the private cloud and letting their partners do the public cloud, like IBM and so on. So we’re going to offer a choice to our customers, some might want to migrate, some might go to Amazon, some might want to go to Google…”

It might seem more than a coincidence that CloudBees has dropped their RUN@Cloud PaaS, just as they announce a partnership with their former PaaS rival Pivotal. Indeed, Labourey says it’s no coincidence that they have only opened up to a partnership with Pivotal now that they are no longer officially competing.

But the CloudBees CEO emphasised to us that “this is a partnership on the merits of Jenkins and the value of Jenkins to Pivotal customers on premises…not a kind of trade where we stop PaaS to obtain a partnership with Pivotal, or that we stop if our customers go to Pivotal. So there is no relationship whatsoever between where our customers are going to go, why we made the decision and the partnership with Pivotal. Since we’re doing one thing, it’s enabled our ability to make this partnership and makes it very easy.”

Enterprise vs Open-Source Jenkins

There are several differences between Enterprise Jenkins and open source Jenkins. Many customers are only looking for support, so from that standpoint, it is not too different from what JBoss or Red Hat are doing, Labourey explains. CloudBees also find that customers are also interested in the added values provided on the top of Jenkins. Jenkins offers a number of plugins that enterprises will appreciate, such as the ability to do whole days active control or cluster deployments.

Jenkins Operations Center (lovingly called ‘Jockey’ by its creators) by CloudBees is a tool that makes it possible to manage and operate Jenkins at scale. A typical use case for Jenkins is in enterprises where teams end up with dozens and sometimes even hundreds of masters and more build machines everywhere. Labourey explains that “at this point there is a need to unify these (machines) and to monitor all of these instances, to make sure that you apply the right plugins to those instances. Maybe you might want to start sharing resources among masters instead of having strictly private resources.” A single master wants to be able to share resources and apply the same security checks on all masters. These are the kinds of things that Jenkins Operations Center enables.

With the new focus on Jenkins, CloudBees are working extensively on the workflow features. “A lot of customers are doing CD on top of Jenkins but until now they had to use tricks to get there and use types of pipelines. You would end up with lots of tricky jobs, and so on. Jenkins has so many configurations with a lot of tools that you could easily integrate. So the definition of the pipeline itself was relatively awkward.”

The open-source community has been working extensively on the “Jenkins Workflow” which is a very powerful way to define sophisticated workflows. This will be released in Autumn but can already be tested in the community. CloudBees will be providing a number of other new features such as the visualisation of those flows and monitoring features.

“So – a lot of cool things coming up” Labourey says in summary.

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