Summary:

CloudBees, fresh off closing a $4 million funding round, has acquired fellow Java PaaS startup Stax Networks. The move might seem inconsequential — both companies are relatively unknown — but it signals that the PaaS consolidation kicked off by Red Hat and Salesforce.com might just be beginning.

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Updated: Cloud computing startup CloudBees, which just two weeks ago announced a $4 million funding round, has acquired fellow cloud startup Stax Networks. The move might seem inconsequential — both companies are relatively unknown — but it signals that the PaaS consolidation kicked off by Red Hat and Salesforce.com might just be beginning.

CloudBees was working on its own Java PaaS offering, RUN@cloud, but it chose to accelerate the process by purchasing Stax and its already-operational product. Over the next month, CloudBees will integrate the Stax offering with the work already done on RUN@cloud. Update: Founder and CEO Sacha Labourey told me the companies had been discussing this deal for a short while, but its accelerated closing was actually spurred by recent moves such as Red Hat buying Makara and Salesforce.com buying Heroku.

CloudBees needed to get into the game now or risk getting left behind; both companies needed to consolidate to avoid cannibalizing each other’s sales. As I’ve explained in detail over the past couple weeks at GigaOM Pro, PaaS options are increasing rapidly, but CloudBees and Stax were the only two providers focusing solely on Java. Although there’s something to be said about single-language clouds created by Java experts, the market might not have been big enough for two. Every PaaS provider supporting Java — including VMware with its recently unveiled Cloud OS — also supports at least one other language, and CloudBees and Stax didn’t need to be splitting the pot of developers willing to work in such confined conditions.

However, Labourey said CloudBees won’t be that limited for long. The platform is currently built atop Tomcat and can support Java frameworks, such as Spring, that can run in a Tomcat environment, but the company will replace Tomcat with JBoss next year, which means support for Java Enterprise Edition applications too. After that, Labourey suggested that multi-language support is on the way. “Down the road, [we will need to support] multiple languages.”

I wrote over the weekend (subscription req’d) that we’re going to start seeing more action around PaaS now that Red Hat and Salesforce.com kicked things off, and that multi-language PaaS likely will be the recipe for success. If CloudBees and Stax read the writing on the wall, it’s likely larger vendors didn’t miss it either. In fact, as RUN@cloud develops into what Labourey describes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see CloudBees snatched up, too.

Image courtesy of Flickr user mangpages.

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