Savvis is about to buy AppFog, a Platform-as-a-Service startup based in Portland, Ore., according to several sources. Savvis, a data center operator, was acquired itself two years ago by CenturyLink in a $3.2 billion bid to build a cloud and hosted managed services powerhouse.
Details are scarce since AppFog had no comment and Savvis could not be reached for comment but sources with knowledge of the deal expect the news to be announced Monday. Founded in 2010, AppFog garnered about $10 million in venture funding from Ignition Partners, Xen founder Simon Crosby, Madrona Venture Group, First Round Capital and Founders Co-Op.
Given that Savvis is a big VMware vSphere and vCloud Director partner, AppFog could give it a “house brand” PaaS of its own. AppFog’s PaaS builds atop standard Cloud Foundry technology, which came out of VMware. Its pitch was that AppFog abstracted out messy details of base cloud infrastructure so developers could move their apps from Amazon to Rackspace to HP or other public clouds at will. That eliminated cloud lock-in at least at the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) layer. In April, however, AppFog dropped support for Rackspace and seemed to be narrowing its focus.
At the time, word was that VMware’s decision to spin off Cloud Foundry to Pivotal and offer it as a commercial PaaS hurt members of the ecosystem — including ActiveState, Uhuru and AppFog — it had recruited to build PaaSes atop that technology. That led to talk of a possible fork of Cloud Foundry.
Given this news, it looks like AppFog technology will be more tightly wedded to Savvis/VMware infrastructure, but no one’s saying.
PaaS as a category hasn’t gained a ton of traction in the enterprise — even some in the market concede that it lacks a killer app to convince CIOs to buy into the concept. Developers at companies often use these platforms hosted on outside cloud infrastructure to build and test software but when the time comes to deploy, the apps typically come in-house.
Pivotal trotted out General Electric’s $105 million investment in its new venture as proof that enterprise adoption of PaaS is on the upswing. Red Hat this week made its enterprise-focused OpenShift PaaS generally available. OpenShift adoption could be a bellwether for the category.