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ActiveState Buys Appsecute To Enhance PaaS With Facebook-Style Feed For Developers And IT Pros

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ActiveState, a platform-as-a-service provider, has acquired New Zealand-based Appsecute, a company that provides social monitoring tools for developers and IT professionals to monitor cloud environments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Appsecute’s three employees will join ActiveState, which is based in Vancouver, Canada. They will remain in New Zealand developing the service.

The Appsecute technology will get integrated into Stackato, ActiveState’s private PaaS, used for internal developer environments.

Appsecute launched as a PaaS last year, offering a universal user interface for a variety of different vendor PaaS platforms. Earlier this year, the company decided to take a different tack by offering what it calls a “social timeline for DevOps.” It essentially allows developer and operations teams to get a real-time, “single-pane-of-glass” view across multiple application management services. The Appsecute social stream displays events from services like GitHub, Zendesk or PagerDuty with a Facebook-style timeline.

Of note are Appsecute’s API connectors that it open-sourced to allow developers and operations people to get the view they want to have into their own infrastructure and SaaS environments.

Director of Product Management Brent Smithurst said ActiveState sees the most value in the social stream technology, but the connectors provide the capability for customers to develop a stream that fits their needs.

“We were interested in the connectors but not as much as the connectors themselves as the social stream they enable,” Smithurst said.

ActiveState has taken a position in the PaaS market that is stronger than a number of other players in the space. Earlier this year it announced a partnership with HP Cloud Services that puts it in a potential strong position. It is the official PaaS for the public HP cloud business.

Founded in 1997, ActiveState is well-established as a provider of development tools for dynamic languages.  But what is to come of the PaaS space and how does Stackato it in?

In the deeper enterprise camp, Cloud Foundry looked like it had a position of strength in the market, but it has remained quiet now that it is behind the curtain at Pivotal, the spinoff EMC made with different product groups from the company and VMware, which it has a majority stake in. OpenShift is Red Hat’s answer. It is reportedly getting traction in the market, as the Red Hat cloud story takes shape with its emerging power position in OpenStack, the open cloud movement.

In the hosted space are Heroku, owned by Salesforce.com, Engine Yard and a selection of providers such as OrangeScape, which offers a visual programming interface for business users.

But perhaps the biggest emerging competitor is Windows Azure, which today made several announcements, in particular the ability for customers to stop virtual machines without needing to delete them. That will reduce the friction for customers and enhance the offering that provides test and development capabilities on-premise and in the cloud.

What this all means for ActiveState is a deeper capability to offer a social stream that none of these players really have. A social stream with connectors to infrastructure is certainly useful. The question: is it different enough for ActiveState to really stand out in the market.