Developers are pushing to do more app development in the cloud, but IT has a history as a command and control environment that has focused on locking down infrastructure more than opening it up. CloudBees is a company that is offering a middle layer that connects the cloud and enterprise worlds so developers can build apps in a fluid and continuous manner but with the security and processes that IT demands.
Today the company is announcing the ability to continually test and build OS X and iOS apps by connecting on-premise systems with cloud services. CloudBees is also announcing new ways to use virtual private networks (VPN) for connecting cloud services with database and source-code repositories.
CloudBees is a Java platform that use Jenkins, an open-source continuous integration environment. With Jenkins, CloudBees has built a service that allows developers to build apps without the need to continually do it manually.
The new mobile offering integrates Jenkins with the iOS tool chain in a managed, hosted environment, said Steve Harris, SVP of CloudBees in an email interview. With the new capability, CloudBees turns Jenkins into a cloud service of sorts by making the needed hooks fully on-demand and elastic. They have also added the capability to preserve the needed components so connections can be made effectively with on-premise libraries.
The new VPN-to-Jenkins capability connects cloud-hosted Jenkins builds with the enterprise, Harris said. For example, development teams want to use cloud-based resources for development and test staging to get an app built and deployed quickly, but their IT team insists that they be able to use the identity systems such as SAML to gate access and enforce their own requirements. SAML is an identity management system used often in the enterprise. With its SAML support, CloudBees customers can use hosted services like OneLogin and Okta, or they can use their in-house SAML systems directly with CloudBees.
The challenge CloudBees faces comes from both PaaS and MBaaS providers, as well as the dozens of other tool companies that are creating new ways for developers to build and deploy apps.
CloudBees faces competition from PaaS providers and mobile back-end services (MBaaS) companies that simplify the setup and operation of cloud infrastructure for mobile apps. Major PaaS vendors include Engine Yard and Heroku, two of the first providers to enter the market. Red Hat OpenShift and Cloud Foundry are two of the emerging power players in the space. Apprenda, Stackato and a host of others are also considered competitors in the market. In the MBaaS space, such companies as Kinvey, Parse (acquired by Facebook), AnyPresence and Firebase all provide mobile back-end services.
For CloudBees, the key is in keeping to its roots in continuous integration, focusing on developers and enhancing its platform with more features to connect the cloud to the enterprise.