Red Hat, Progress Software Enter The PaaS Software Competition

Red Hat's OpenShift Online public PaaS system is now commercially available after a lengthy developer preview period. Progress Software unveiled Progress Pacific, its own entry in the PaaS competition that's a critical element of the vendor's renewed focus on application development and deployment technologies.

The worldwide market for PaaS systems is expected to grow more than 45 percent a year to reach $15.7 billion by 2016, IDC forecasts. The latest entries will be competing against other PaaS systems, including Salesforce's and LongJump, which Software AG acquired in April.

[Related: Progress Software Sells Off More Product Lines ]

To build its PaaS offering, Progress said this week that it had acquired Rollbase, a Saratoga, Calif.-based marketer of a cloud platform for developing Software-as-a-Service applications. Financial details of the acquisition weren't disclosed.

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With the Rollbase technology, developers can build data-driven applications for deployment in public or private clouds or on-premises. The development technology uses drag-and-drop methods instead of coding.

Along with Rollbase, Pacific incorporates Progress OpenEdge, the vendor's current "advanced business language" development technology and multitenant cloud database. The inclusion of OpenEdge means that Pacific will support applications developed using OpenEdge. "We're preserving that for our partners and customers," said Karen Padir, progress application development senior vice president, in an interview.

Pacific also incorporates Progress DataDirect, the company's data integration technology, and ODBC and JDBC drivers for connecting on-premises, and cloud applications and data sources. Also added to Pacific is Progress Corticon, the business rules automation technology Progress acquired in 2011.

"We are providing an independent [technology] stack that can be deployed on any cloud, in any on-premise data center, or anything in between," Padir said.

About 70 percent of Progress' partner base is ISVs who build applications on the vendor's development platform. Distributors, systems integrators and hosting service providers make up most of the remainder.

One partner, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based QAD, used Progress' earlier generation tools to develop its ERP applications. The company is seeing increasing demand for its cloud software and the Pacific platform will help the developer keep up with those demands, said Executive Vice President Gordon Fleming in an interview.

Pacific "really brings all the components of what Progress offers, and supports on-premise and cloud deployments," Fleming said. "The platform will help accelerate our efforts and improve our productivity in developing cloud solutions. It's a highly productive environment."

"From our perspective, this is all good for our partners," said Kim King, Progress vice president for global partners and channels, in an interview. "We see this as a way to attract new partners and reinvigorate our [partner] base."

Progress is making the Rollbase development system available now with the full Pacific platform slated for general availability later this summer.

Red Hat launched its OpenShift Online PaaS offering in May 2011 as a developer preview, and the company said more than 1 million applications have been built on it since then. This week, Red Hat is making OpenShift Online available as a fully supported commercial product.

OpenShift is now available in three editions: OpenShift Origin, an open-source project; the commercial OpenShift Online; and OpenShift Enterprise, an on-premises private PaaS product.