As PaaS continues to generate ever-increasing levels of attention, the velocity of innovation in the space ramps up. Alongside this innovation, and in an effort to speed development, we’ll begin to see some consolidation with well-funded players acquiring companies to add to their own product mix. We’ll also see well-funded companies strategically acquire other companies in order to remove competition. Case in point today from AppFog who are announcing their acquisition of Nodester, the pure play Node.JS PaaS vendor. In actual fact, Nodester is an open source Node.JS project, the Nodester site is the platform built on top of that project.

Terms of the deal where not disclosed, however it’s likely that it was an acquisition that was more centered around giving Nodester CEO Chris Matthieu a way to get out of something that requires a big investment in terms of commitment, I suspect the deal wasn’t large in financial terms. Apparently Matthieu will be spending some time in the changeover period on a part time basis, but thereafter will be exiting the company. That’s a pretty unusual model but given Nodester’s relative youth, it wouldn’t take a big pay day to make it all worthwhile. It’s also logical given that Matthieu has joined the brains trust at Bechtel working with luminaries such as Justin Burleigh and Christian Reilly.

Nodester has built itself a bit of a cult following, and AppFog is undoubtedly still young and hip enough to avoid turning off those very contributors who have made Nodester what it is. It is also a reflection on the importance of Node.JS for AppFog – Node is tied alongside PHP for having the largest number of applications on the AppFog platform – so further strengthening ties with the Node community is valuable for the company.

According to AppFog CEO Lucas Carlson, AppFog will keep Nodester running as an independent service until WebSocket support is integrated into AppFog later this year, at which time the applications will move into the AppFog infrastructure, giving Nodester users access to all the features of AppFog including cross-cloud vendor compatibility. In taking up the benefits of this deal, AppFog articulates a win-all-round situation for all parties concerned;

  • Nodester Developers – Nodester users will now be able to deploy apps to a wide range of different IaaS providers
  • AppFog Developers – AppFog will bring WebSocket support into its cross-cloud PaaS solution. Node is tied as the most popular language on AppFog, so AppFog’s Node developers will have an even stronger community and ecosystem to rely upon
  • PaaS Developers – There have been too many PaaS options to choose from, this helps developers by consolidating down to the best options in the market

It seems to me that this is more about consolidation and simployfying the marketplace rather than anything in terms of IP. I put this to Carlson who told me;

[we get] Dev mindshare/market share, web socket support which we give back to Cloud Foundry, and enterprise traction

This isn’t the first example of consolidation in the PaaS market, a year or so ago RedHat acquired Makara for a rumored $40M (and renamed it OpenShift). I expect to see more consolidation in the months to come, especially as the Cloud Foundry ecosystem beds down a little.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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