Polyglot PaaS Provider AppFog Acquires Nodester

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) company AppFog today announced the acquisition of Nodester, provider of a PaaS based on the open source Node.js server-side JavaScript development environment.

AppFog plans to keep Nodester running as an independent service until its WebSocket support is integrated into AppFog later this year, said company founder and CEO Lucas Carlson. Once the WebSocket support is in place, the Nodester apps will move into the AppFog infrastructure, which will give Nodester users access to all the features of AppFog, including cross-cloud vendor compatibility.

"Nodester users will now be able to use the same PaaS for their Ruby and Java apps that they use for their Node apps," Carlson told "[The acquisition] will allow Nodester users to deploy apps to a wide range of different Infrastructure-as-a- Service (IaaS) providers at a competitive price."

Portland, Oreg.-based AppFog was founded by Web developer Carlson, co-author (with Leonard Richardson) of Ruby Cookbook: Recipes for Object Oriented Scripting. The company initially billed itself as a PHP-based PaaS provider, but quickly began supporting Ruby, Python, Perl, Node.js, and Java. The company now calls itself a "polyglot" PaaS provider. The company's name comes from the idea of "bringing the cloud down to earth."

"The market is beginning to look at Platform-as-a-Service in sort of a polyglot -- multi-language -- way," Carlson said. "And this acquisition feeds right into that. It allows us to provide both deeper and wider support for Node.js within AppFog."

Node.js -- often referred to simply as "Node" -- has been called "the new Ruby on Rails." It's based on Google's V8 JavaScript engine, and it provides a JavaScript API for accessing network and file systems. Unlike other JavaScript code, which executes in the web browser, Node.js runs on the server side.

"The Nodester community is passionate about the open source public, private, and hybrid cloud PaaS services," Nodester founder Chris Mattheiu said in a blog post ( "I looked at the various leading PaaS providers out there and it became clear that the only one that matched our vision and mission was AppFog. Partnering with the leader will give our Node.JS developers the very best PaaS solution as Node.JS continues to grow and extend into the Enterprise."

That community is perhaps one of the most valuable assets AppFog is acquiring with this deal, Carlson said. "Bringing the community that has built this technology around AppFog gives us an opportunity to incorporate the best technologies going forward," Carlson said.

Krishnan Subramanian, founder and principal analyst, Rishidot Research, agrees that the polyglot PaaS is likely to supersede the single language PaaS in the long run, and he sees more consolidations on the horizon in this space.

"It is clear that polyglot and infrastructure agnostic PaaS solutions are the future of PaaS," he said in a statement. "As enterprise acceptance of PaaS continues to ramp up it is likely that we will see a wave of consolidation." 

It makes sense when you consider that lines of business within enterprises today are failing, because they're being asked to do so much more with less," Carlson added. "They're being asked to build out those mobile apps, those consumer apps, those social apps. But they're not given the support for standardization that core IT does for its business logic. So they're being resourceful. They're figuring out how to utilize Node and Python and Java -- in ways that end up being untenable. The developer managers can't manage a hundred different systems. That's why I think consolidation is inevitable."

According to the two companies, Matthieu is overseeing the transition of Nodester to AppFog, but has yet to decide in what capacity he will continue in the merged organization.

More information about the combined companies is available on the AppFog Web site.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].