Apprenda brings Java support, better policy embrace, to the masses

Apprenda, which last year promised to add Java support  to its .Net-focused Platform-as-a-Service,  is now making that support, along with a redesigned user look-and-feel broadly available in its new release.

But perhaps most important to IT, Apprenda said it’s made its software more adaptable to a company’s existing policies. Of course it can tie into existing Active Directory configurations. But with or without active directory, it can also automatically “bootstrap” security or performance monitoring services into applications based on IT ops rules, said Rakesh Malhotra, Apprenda’s VP of products. Application settings can also be modified to comply with policy without breaking the apps, he added.

“You can set policy that says ‘anything without personally identifiable information can run on Apprenda nodes hosted in Amazon AWS/Azure’ or ‘anything in the dev/test can run in public cloud nodes but production runs in our Phoenix datacenter,’ Malhotra said.

And new dynamic scaling allows the platform to scale up or down automatically within a defined range. That could please IT pros who don’t like seeing “sandbox sprawl” as developers launch their own mini development environments on company infrastructure and sometimes just let them lie dormant.

“You can say lets make sure there are no more than 10 instances [of this app] running in any given infrastructure — and deny the creation of more instances over that limit,” Malhotra said. In the past dynamic scaling typically required multiple monitoring, performance management and other tools — some of which are quite pricey — to set up and then scripting to tie together, he said.

Apprenda’s upstate New York location (it’s in Clifton Park, outside Albany); its support of private as opposed to public PaaS; and the availability of enterprise reference accounts like McKesson, JPMorganChase and, (reportedly) Boeing; has made it a bit of an outlier. There’s a big debate raging now about what distinguishes a PaaS  from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)  and Software as a Service (SaaS), for example.

But there is definitely life in the category:  Mendix, which offers an enterprise-focused PaaS for mobile and web apps got $25 million in Series B funding from Battery Ventures, Prime Ventures and others last week.