10 Comments

Summary:

So much for running your AppFog apps on any cloud: The PaaS provider is dumping Rackspace support completely this week.

Lucas Carlson, CEO AppFog

AppFog, the Platform as a Service that pledged to run your applications on (almost) any cloud, is now one cloud down. As of May 2, the company is “turning off” the Rackspace infrastructure option. An email message announcing the change of plans sent April 27 told customers they could no longer create new applications on Rackspace as of that date.

While helping users host applications on five public clouds was one of Appfog’s main selling points, “it’s also become increasingly resource-intensive to maintain so many instances of our infrastructure,” AppFog CEO Lucas Carlson wrote in the email. He referred users to the AppFog Console, which will enable them to clone their application onto new target infrastructure.

Carlson could not be reached for comment Monday morning, but, Generally speaking, PaaS adoption by business users has been sketchy at best. Many developers love PaaS because it makes development and testing very easy, but once the applications are built, many companies prefer to run them in-house (i.e., not on a public cloud). And, more specifically, there have been rumors  that AppFog was seeking investment or even a potential buyout.

AppFog tried to end-run that argument by allowing deployment on private clouds as well, but it’s unclear how well that effort has gone. There has also been angst among companies, including AppFog, that built their PaaS offerings atop the Cloud Foundry framework. That was true when Cloud Foundry resided under VMware, and remains true since it was spun off to Pivotal, which is now selling its own Cloud Foundry PaaS that competes with third-party options.

I’ve reached out to Carlson for comment and will update this story when he responds.

Update: Carlson would not comment on rationale for dropping Rackspace but did say that AppFog has hundreds of paying customers and that his goal is to “build a big company in a big space.” AppFog still supports Amazon Web Services in three regions — North America, Europe and Asia as well as HP’s cloud.

This story was updated at 7:25 a.m. PST with Carlson’s comment.

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  1. Robert Wagner Monday, April 29, 2013

    “Carlson could not be reached for comment Monday morning”

    So you tried to get a hold of someone on the west coast at 6:30 a.m. for a comment? Ummm, yeah, I can’t imagine why you couldn’t get a hold of him…

    1. If i’m a CEO who sends out a note to customers over the weekend about killing a service, i’d expect press calls early my time monday. That said, the story is updated with Carlson’s comment.

      thanks for reading

    2. thanks for the journalism tips, now go back and dust off your Pulitzer

      1. That was to Robert Wagner, who’s no bashful with his journalism suggestions, but maybe should be

  2. I’ve always questioned the value of PaaS companies for “real” applications. They’re great for prototyping and internal apps but I’d say they’re completely unsuitable for apps that get any real volume of traffic, simply because you have no control over optimising the stack.

    Interesting they’re dropping Rackspace but keeping HP! They must have customers using it and/or are working with HP on some kind of partnership. If anything, PaaS products should be great for private clouds because they can be used to deploy small, internal projects. Dropping Rackspace must also mean dropping OpenStack.

    1. there are lots of theories about the rackspace choice david. we’ll talk later

  3. This is an inherent problem with PaaS. It is expensive for paid users since it’s focus on quick on-boarding means it has to be based on a freemium model which ends up with a large chunk of the users trying and prototyping and being subsidised by paid users (that’s why dotCloud dumped – sorry open sourced – their dev/free plan)

    Vendors like Heroku and dotCloud built really cool technologies at great cost to allow virtualization at container level which is now being eroded away by open source tools like CloudFoundry and Openshift.

    AppFog cripples the accounts with factors like request per second which means now thanks to PaaS, we are not worried about our infrastructure, but should worry about the number of requests we get per second.

    Private PaaS is probably the only way that makes sense and that’s were Pivotal Initiative got into the market competing directly with the CloudFoundry ecosystem.

    The biggest public PaaS player (Heroku) serves 0.14% of the top 10,000 websites at best (source: http://trends.builtwith.com/hosting/Heroku)

  4. Your comments reinforce what i hear again and again: PaaS fine for build and test but not fine for deploy …thanks

  5. Bardi Einarsson Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Cloning my appfog rails app from Rackspace to AWS went smoothly, but getting only one weeks notice to make the change is not confidence inspiring.

  6. Remember … PaaS does not meant “public” just as “cloud” does not either.

    Just because you don’t understand the true value of PaaS does not mean they are not for “real” applications. If you do “question the value of PaaS”, you will also question IaaS and the SDDC.

    Not all PaaS are created equal. What a real & PaaS should do is remove the OS and inconsistancies from apps and app deployment. You won’t need to control optimizing the stack. Sometimes you will, but most apps, and yes they are real, will live perfectly fine in a PaaS.

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