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Also posted on: The Norfolk Punt
I’ve been writing about high-productivity PaaS (Platform as a Service) offerings such as OutSystems Platform and Force.com recently; these work with high-level model-driven development and visual programming—and they build applications at the business service level. Nevertheless, there is another approach: the code productivity PaaS like Heroku, now part of Salesforce1.
This sort of PaaS supports a programming language—or, ideally, lots of different programming languages—and I’ve been talking about them with Philipp Strube, Founder / CEO of cloudControl GmbH.
cloudControl, of course, sells its own Heroku-like European PaaS, on top of Amazon cloud services. Its key points of interest, I think, are its partner ecosystem; support for the open BuildPack API, with a multi-tenant multi-language PaaS (with native language support); and cloudControl’s strategy for expansion using ‘whitelabel’ partners.
Looking at the competition, Salesforce1’s Heroku (which started BuildPack) and IBM’s BlueMix (based on Cloud Foundry and not to be confused with the older Blue Cloud, as I often do) also support BuildPack; but neither Amazon’s AWS Elastic Beanstalk (which isn’t multi-tenant) nor Windows Azure do.
cloudControl’s expansion plans are particularly interesting—it could have invested in building world-wide data centres but regards this as a risky approach. It prefers to concentrate on its core competency as a leading European PaaS provider with a strong 3rd-party cloud marketplace. World-wide datacentres can be built by big telcos and service providers and the like, with local knowledge and customers—who then use (or whitelabel) cloudControl’s platform, technology and experience to enable their own cloud offerings. According to Strube, this is a win:win deal; cloudControl’s partners get a high-quality validated solution with less initial investment and shorter time to market; while cloudControl gets to build a low-risk global footprint, and leverages its partners’ sales and marketing power.
From the customer’s point of view, European customers get a cloud platform provider that really understands European issues such as data privacy; while global customers also get to deal with a trusted partner that understands their local issues.
At the moment, cloudControl is establishing what it calls its “Whitelabel P(aaS)²” product offering and getting its first whitelabel customers. By 2015 it hopes to be on-course to be the “Blackberry Enterprise Server of PaaS”—in a good way (perhaps Blackberry is a slightly unfortunate model)—and well on the way to global expansion as a “federated PaaS enablement technology provider”. As long as language productivity is what you want, it sounds like it’s telling a good story.