Thoughts on Pivotal, Cloud Foundry, IBM, and Stackato
by Jeff Hobbs

Jeff Hobbs, July 24, 2013

Cloud Welcome MatWelcome, IBM, to the Cloud Foundry ecosystem! ActiveState has been a proud member since 2011. Throughout that time, we've brought dozens of large enterprise (Fortune 500) customers in too, including HP, ExactTarget, and many others whom we can't name (perhaps Stackato is such a competitive advantage that they don't want to share?).

IBM, if you don't already know this, you're going to find one thing out immediately: Cloud Foundry has the best ecosystem and architecture of any open source PaaS provider. In fact, that statement probably includes any proprietary provider as well. We know you looked at competing PaaS platforms in great detail during due diligence and saw that the trend is in Cloud Foundry's favor. (You may have even laughed along with us at some so-called "open source ecosystems" that consisted of negligible external contributions.) Cloud Foundry was designed from the beginning to be flexible, scalable, and extensible. It is very clearly the future model for IT as a Service platforms; with your backing, its competitors don't stand a chance.

ActiveState was building a PaaS three years ago, just like you were. We switched to Cloud Foundry as the core of Stackato immediately after seeing it in spring 2011. This turned out to be a very wise decision for us and our customers. Since then, we've made changes to all of the core Cloud Foundry components to make it a robust and secure platform for our production users. Throughout this, we have remained true to the Cloud Foundry architecture and have always maintained Cloud Foundry compatibility. We continue to build on the Cloud Foundry design, expanding the basic cloud application platform into an effective enterprise ready cloud enabled platform.

You seem to understand that IaaS is just a necessary evil but the real value to end-users is in PaaS. We agree and our customers do as well. Stackato is IaaS-agnostic but works well on OpenStack, your preferred IaaS (HP has OEM'd Stackato to create the HP aPaaS on OpenStack). Open sourced IaaS brings cost efficiency to the data center, but PaaS delivers real business value far beyond mere cost savings. Technologies such as IaaS enable IT to operate differently, but a good PaaS enables a completely different way of thinking and behaving. All of a sudden, efficiency and responsiveness flows from IT throughout an enterprise, leading to previously unheard of collaboration between IT and business units, resulting in an organization that is suddenly able to just get things done!

ActiveState is really excited about you joining the PaaS space. There is more than enough room for everybody:

  • PaaS is a massive growth market (Gartner says PaaS will be a $2.9 billion market by 2016) and there is plenty of business to go around
  • Different customer segments have different needs and we will continue to serve ours better than anybody
  • We are small, nimble, and move really quickly
  • There is no tail wagging this dog (ActiveState is beholden only to the needs of its target customers and not VC funding or the interests of multiple corporate shareholders)
  • We have no horse in the IaaS race and work equally well on top of any IaaS
  • We take a "best of open source" approach and do not have any trace of "not invented here" syndrome
  • Like Pivotal, we have big-name partners too

So, congratulations to our friends at Pivotal and welcome to the party, IBM. It's going to be a lot of fun watching the market grow. More importantly, it's going to be extremely gratifying having a front row seat as enterprises jump on PaaS and IT becomes first class members of their organizations. We look forward to working with you and Pivotal to further the PaaS space and I'm sure we'll see you soon at the Cloud Foundry Conference in September.

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Jeff Hobbs is our CTO & VP, Engineering and oversees all ActiveState product development including our cloud solutions. Though he’s responsible for leading and fostering our talented development team, Jeff is a coder at heart! He is passionate about technologies that just work, making the lives of developers easier. His current obsession is making Stackato the best private PaaS platform for developers: using any language, any infrastructure, and leveraging open source - so that applications just deploy and scale in any cloud.