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.