It’s Hard to be Number One

August 27, 2012
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Now that PaaS has become the hot topic in the Cloud – and now that Enterprise customers are starting to sign those 9 figure contracts for PaaS providers – we’re starting to see the sort of negative marketing that has long been the trademark of Enterprise Software. This is sad, but inevitable. At present the negative marketing seems to largely be targeted at the leaders in the space and seems to largely consist of FUD.

While normally we would simply ignore this kind of thing – a recent post on the Apprenda blog about Cloud Foundry does, in our opinion, require a response. We have been partners with VMware and Cloud Foundry from early in Cloud Foundry’s existence. We are big fans of Cloud Foundry and AppFog is built to support Cloud Foundry. As such we are a part of the ecosystem that Sinclair talks about. Given his basic thesis, we should be worried sick about VMware and should be fighting to find different alternatives.

Nothing is further from the truth.

FUD: What VMware is doing with Cloud Foundry will collapse the ecosystem!

In looking at the post, the entire thesis is that “more cloud” is a bad thing and that by helping enterprises adopt PaaS, the partner ecosystem is damaged. The thesis is that VMware is going to grow the market for PaaS and Cloud Foundry – but will do so by stealing business from us (the ecosystem). This is simply untrue. In looking at Cloud adoption in the Enterprise, it is obvious that right now the more Cloud Foundry adoption that occurs, the more we all benefit.

Why? Because contrary to folks like Apprenda, the opportunity AppFog sees is workload portability between clouds. Thus, the more clouds VMware or anyone (including Apprenda) setup in the Enterprise, the more business exists for AppFog.

A rising tide does, after all, lift all boats.

To be fair, this post is not simply a piece of FUD. It’s also clearly an attempt to draw a distinction between those who believe in win-win scenarios and those who don’t see any situation in which one company’s win isn’t another’s loss. In other words, between those who believe in ecosystems and those who don’t. Needless to say, we are believers.

FUD: Cloud Foundry partners are in conflict everywhere!

Now, we know that ecosystems are complicated. But complicated is not the same as conflicted. Yes, Tier3 and ActiveState can be thought of as a competitor of ours. And obviously there will be situations where a potential customer might choose to work with CloudFoundry.com instead of with us. But that does not mean that there is conflict between us and Cloud Foundry or between us and the other partners. Sure… we compete. But we are also partners. Because we all see the the big wins come from increasing total penetration and increasing the opportunity for workload portability and interoperability.

FUD: No Open Source community can be sustained in the cloud!

OpenStack is an example of how you can have a win-win scenario around Open Source frameworks for the cloud and is doing a fantastic job cultivating a thriving community. Cloud Foundry is a year behind OpenStack in terms of community but it heading in the right direction.

Sadly, I think we will see more of this sort of attack from the various vendors out there who are locked to a single language or who are wedded to a single infrastructure as portability and interoperability become the accepted key criteria for PaaS adoption. But that’s the pain of being the winners I guess.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to celebrate and support the thriving ecosystem that we are building along with Cloud Foundry and all our other partners. Because we actually do believe in a win-win world.

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