One of the biggest battles raging in the PaaS world has been between the Polyglot and the Best of Breed camps. In the polyglot corner stands Heroku, Engine Yard and Cloud Foundry who all say that only a platform that gives an organization the ability to develop in multiple different languages and frameworks is meaningful. In the best of breed corner stands Apprenda, stoically defending a perspective that only through a deeply focused best of breed approach can a PaaS truly deliver upon the needs of an organization wanting to both “cloudify” existing applications and develop new ones.
Apprenda is delivering a nuance to that conversation today with the announcement that it is powering JPMorgan Chase’s development and management of internal applications – on both the Apprenda standard, .NET, and Java. The second part of this announcement is something of a bombshell, I’ve known that Apprenda was working on a Java platform for many months now but to the public it will come as a major shock given the best of breed rhetoric from Apprenda to date. But it’s important to understand that Apprenda has never said that only one development language will meet all the needs of an organization – rather it says that an individual PaaS need to be deeply tailored to a particular language or framework – and, by extension, a PaaS vendor can deliver similarly deep functionality across more than one language.
It seems that this messaging, while outside the orthodox thinking around PaaS, is resonating where it matters, with customers. JPMorgan is using Apprenda across its more than 430 development teams and 2000 custom applications worldwide. According to Apprenda, this is the largest private PaaS implementation to date – a claim that, while unable to be verified exactly, rings true given the nascent nature of PaaS in general, and enterprise PaaS in particular.
The problems that drove JPMC to investigate PaaS in the first place will come as no surprise to anyone who has been listening to the contention of myself and others that PaaS is the future of application development:
- Long lead times for application deployment due to infrastructure provisioning and OS and software stack build and verification
- Inflexible capacity management that requires precise, upfront forecasting and has difficulty in meeting unexpected scaling needs
- Lack of effective cost control with large up-front cost requirements and severe under-utilization of physical and virtual infrastructure
- Redundant effort between development teams that cause developers to treat application architecture patterns, security configuration, high availability, and common services such as application caching as “one off” engagements rather than relying on standards
Apprenda’s platform, plugged into JPMC’s existing IT infrastructure, allowed the firm to move directly from raw infrastructure to a high level private PaaS cloud. JPMC reports that it benefits in the following ways from the move:
- Enterprise Grade – JPMC’s private cloud PaaS operates at a scale for thousands of applications and provides guaranteed availability and global failover—integrating seamlessly with existing IT investments
- “Just Bring Your App” PaaS – removed the friction between developers and IT through single click application deployment and isolating developers and their applications from the infrastructure
- Unprecedented Time to Market – application deployment was reduced from weeks to less than five minutes per application
- Fine Cost Control – created a way to allocate and assign surface resources to developers on an internal “pay as you go” model to keep costs in check and utilization to a maximum
- Standardization of Productivity and Architecture Patterns – achieved an unprecedented ability to write hundreds of new custom applications per year that would leverage the platform and support common application management, plus offer platform services such as messaging and caching and cloud architecture patterns
This can’t be articulated strongly enough, an enterprise like JPMC does due diligence to the extreme, and their comments are glowing in their positivity, This from Ian Penny, Global Head of Distributed Technology Engineering and Architecture:
The size of the JPMC application portfolio is large. We needed a proven, enterprise grade private cloud PaaS that could handle our scale for both .NET and Java. Apprenda has the technology that could deliver on the private PaaS vision of savings and agility, transforming the way we develop and run applications firmwide
This positivity is understandable when one sees some of the metrics since JPMC has deployed Apprenda:
- Application time to market improvement of 59 days
- Utilization increases on infrastructure from an average of 40% to 70%, resulting in a 45% drop in infrastructure costs
- 100% uptime to date with no unscheduled environment outages
- Standardization across development teams in terms of deployment and availability of standard application building blocks, resulting in massive boosts in developer productivity and agility