Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS: Traction Update




At the recent AWS:REINVENT 2013 conference, Red Hat made two announcements about its OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

Red Hat has expanded its commercial public PaaS to 14 new Eurozone countries, making OpenShift Online available in more than 30 countries. Additionally, with this announcement Red Hat is lowering OpenShift Online’s gear/hour pricing by 50 percent and providing additional gear sizes to host larger applications. The initial phase of Red Hat’s PaaS strategy was marked by the 2012 introduction of OpenShift Enterprise, a hybrid cloud application platform. General availability of OpenShift Online, a public PaaS, followed a year later in mid 2013.

In addition, Red Hat announced several new partners to help execute its vision to deliver more choice to developers across public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments, including AppDynamics, Continuent, Kinvey, Netsource Partners, Phase2, StrongLoop, Vizuri, and Pat V. Mack. In June 2013, the vendor announced that more than one million apps have been created with OpenShift Online. Red Hat claims growth whereby the OpenShift Online user base has grown 259 percent and its application count by 322 percent year-over-year. There is no news to report on an app store at this point.

In September 2013, the vendor announced xPaaS, which laid out plans to deliver JBoss middleware products as services on OpenShift. The initial technologies that were slated for availability were integration, mobile, and business process management (BPM). The first piece of the mobile offering is out, and Red Hat has released the beta of its new on-premises integration solution, which will be the foundation for its integration PaaS (iPaaS). BPM is still the works.

Breathing Down the Salesforce Platform’s Neck?

OpenShift still has a long row to hoe to catch up with the market leading Salesforce Platform and partner ecosystem, which currently boasts more than 2,000 partner apps (in the AppExchange app store), with more than 2 million installs and over 20,000 user reviews. Still, a recent Seeking Alpha article talked about a possible write-off of risks for salesforce.com and its investors, given that some number of these start-up platform partners likely won't make it in the long run.

To be fair, any vendor working with start-ups and emerging companies carries this potential risk, regardless of platform. What makes it more challenging is that the Salesforce Platform is proprietary, so end users are locked into the application and solution. In the case of an AppExchange partner going out of business, users’ only option (other than an expensive and time-consuming migration) is to move to another company (possibly another start-up. thereby compounding the issue) that provides an alternative solution.

If this replacement solution is also in proprietary, the customer remains locked in. Red Hat is betting on its platform’s openness and a vast programming language choice for developers, as well as the appealing price that comes with open source technologies.
 
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