Jenkins firm CloudBees is pulling out of platform as a service to focus purely on the Java-based continuous-delivery tool — and at the same time has linked up with PaaS provider Pivotal.
Continuous delivery is an approach to software development designed to automate and improve quality and ensure code is ready for production more quickly.
The decision to discontinue runtime PaaS RUN@cloud, affecting between 300 and 500 customers, was caused by a surge in enterprise demand for Jenkins and the development model it represents, according to CloudBees.
"We've always been a great fan of the continuous-delivery story. That's why we built this complete platform in the public cloud to make it possible to go from development, build and test to staging and production in the cloud as a unified offering," CloudBees CEO and founder Sacha Labourey said.
"But what happened — probably in the past year or two — is really a huge increase in continuous delivery in enterprises but not necessarily in the cloud. We realised we were taking the risk of doing neither of them very well. When it came to Jenkins, we were only able to focus half our efforts on it.
"It was also hard sometimes to strike partnerships because there were always second thoughts about what it would mean to partner with a competitor when it comes to PaaS."
Labourey said what has changed for CloudBees financially is that with continuous delivery the pipeline has become as critical as the production systems: "So the average sales price for such systems is much higher. It made this business for us grow extremely fast."
CloudBees will help existing PaaS customers move applications to alternative providers, so that all complete the transition before the end of the year.
"It's something obviously they would have preferred not to do because the reason they came to us in the first place is because they did not want to manage applications. So that's not going to be good news," Labourey said.
"But the good news is that we've always pitched our cloud business as being a no-lock-in platform and we very much think they will be able to see how true that is. By using open source and open standards, the migration to third-party providers should be relatively straightforward."
The partnership with Cloud Foundry-based PaaS provider Pivotal is designed to give customers CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise software as an add-on service for Pivotal CF later this year.
As well as offering practical advantages to customers, the deal is symbolic of the new Jenkins-only approach being adopted by CloudBees, Labourey said.
"It shows we're moving away and becoming this Jenkins company and here is the type of partnership we want to do and how we want to work," he said.
"Jenkins has a unique position by being the hub where a lot of systems, a lot of third-party solutions, meet and are going to be orchestrated by Jenkins. So as such it's very important for us to be able to strike partnerships with as many parties as possible and show that openness."
Beyond that, Labourey said a use case is emerging where companies move to a cloud strategy and take, say, Pivotal, to do that and set up infrastructure as a service and Cloud Foundry.
"But then you need to enable the machine. You can't force your teams to come onto your new platform and you certainly can't ask your SAP guys to move their good old SAP to Cloud Foundry. So it takes some psychology and selling to get there," he said.
"So a use case that works extremely well is to set up your continuous integration and continuous delivery on top of Pivotal so you can benefit from economy of scale, elasticity, self-service and so on, and provide a service to your existing team.
"Your teams don't have to wait until they're ready to use your cloud and see the benefits of the cloud. They can actually benefit from cloud infrastructure and continuous integration and continuous delivery today thanks to this partnership."
According to CloudBees, the open-source Jenkins platform leads in continuous delivery, with over 85,000 active installations worldwide, many of which are being used as a hub for continuous delivery and DevOps.
The Jenkins community has developed about 1,000 plugins, enabling the software to integrate with many popular technologies. Active Jenkins installations increased by 160 percent in 2013 and by more than 300 percent in the three years up to the end of last year.
CloudBees' on-premise products add enterprise functionality to Jenkins. The company is heavily involved in developing Jenkins, with CTO Kohsuke Kawaguchi the founder and community lead for the open-source project.