CollabNet Bets on PaaS as the Future of Enterprise App Development


CollabNet is a leader  in the application lifecycle management market space. But it sees its future as a development engine for the platform-as-a-service (dPaaS) market.

Today the company is launching a new strategy around cloud deployment and  development with a new platform called CloudForge, what it calls a “dPaaS” intended to complement exissting PaaS and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings such as VMware Cloud Foundry, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Joyent. The “d” obviously stands for development. It plays off CollabNet’s long history as a vendor of open-source enterprise development tools and its belief that enterprise cloud development represents a new and emerging market category.

Founded in 1999, CollabNet began as an open-source provider of developer tools T In 2000, the company created Subversion, an open-source, version control system. Over the years, it began offering application lifecycle management (ALM) tools. targets application lifecycle management for distributed software teams. TeamForge is an integrated Web-based platform that enables teams to work collaboratively through the various stages of the ALM lifecycle – plan, code, track, build and test, lab management, release, report, and collaborate. CloudForge is the next evolution. It brings the CollabNet collaboration environment to external infrastructures and platforms.

Three trends point to why CollabNet will focus on becoming a PaaS:

  1. Agile methodologies continue to gan enterprise acceptance.
  2. DevOps is changing IT. The need to automate operations is directly impacted by continuous development cycles that demand new approaches for application development, deployment and ongoing maintenance.
  3. The cloud is going hybrid, spanning public cloud and virtualized data centers.

And then there’s the CIO, who in many organizations has started developing a cloud strategy, which is in conflict with the tools that developers have started using to deploy apps.  The cloud is everywhere yet so is the existing IT infrastructure, policies and requirements for security and compliance.

CloudForge is intended to bridge on-premise systems with the cloud. It has a built-in activity stream, an app center and reporting features with a dashboard and role-based security. Managers may customize the development environment, invite people and work collaboratively. Users get access to CollabNet’s tools and services, including Subversion and Git. The service is agnostic. It can be used to develop for the Web, mobile or enterprise. That makes it possible to manage multiple technology stacks on a single platform. It works with existing ALM tools.

The app center allows for the integration with SOASA for test and development; AWS, Joyent and Cloud foundry for deployment; New Relic for monitoring and zendesk for support. It provides API integration with TeamForge, its on-premise collaborative development environment. It also integrates with other platforms such as CloudBees.

This is the right move for CollabNet, said Mike West, vice president and distinguished analyst with Saugatuck Technology.

Enterprise IT managers realize  that they need discipline beyond initial experimentations with PaaS, West said. More broadly, the organization needs to support teams, complex requirements and the subsequent evolution that will follow. Do it right and the new development processes can make an enterprise IT shop more nimble and give it the ability to do more. It gives the company the ability to do things others can’t do.

“You are not just bringing in PaaS but what it can leverage,” West said.

West said CollabNet has pulled together a cohesive platform. It’s complete.  It does not require a customer to use proprietary tools as would be the case with Windows Azure.  The same is true with a provider like Progress Software. What about IBM? It’s a possibility. They have a loyal following but do they have the integrated end-to-end solution?

“CollabNet has one of the more complete PaaS I have seen,” West said.

CollabNet does look complete but we’ll see how it fits with other IaaS offerings. That will be critical to its success. CloudFoundry and AWS are great starts and should give CollabNet some juice to feed its ecosystem.