BitNami, a Y Combinator company, has announced that it will focus more on being an app store for server software. The goal is to provide customers with a Google Play or Apple App Store experience that can be accessed on their own infrastructure.
The BitNami platform provides the server infrastructure that companies would otherwise have to build out themselves to connect apps. It can cost a lot to build out such an infrastructure, and often, companies will create a homegrown system that resembles art more than science. The platform is also accessible through services such as BitNami’s own hosting service, Amazon Web Services App Marketplace and Windows Azure VM Depot. It is additionally available on VMware-based clouds, including the VMware service evaluation cloud. BitNami could also support an OpenStack , Cloudstack or Eucalyptus environment.
“Before we offered a range of services and products, like packaging for ISVs or professional services. Now it is solely the app store,” said co-founder and CEO Daniel Lopez. “We have changed our site to reflect that and it should feel like an app store.”
BitNami has always been a bit ahead of the curve. While companies have always been able to deploy BitNami, app stores are far more relevant these days with the focus more on moving to the cloud. That puts BitNami in a position to take advantage of the major shift underway as iPhones, Android phones and other smart devices become the norm and as mobile apps become the way people do their work. With this capability, BitNami is in a position to bridge the still strong desktop market with the web and mobile universe.
BitNami is a classic example of a new kind of platform that allows the line of business to dictate what apps to use. That means business people can deploy an app from the BitNami cloud and use it as needed. If they prefer, they can install it on their own server.
BitNami is gaining momentum. It averages 1 million downloads per month. That’s up from 100,000 this time last year.
The number of applications going online points to the need for app marketplaces. BitNami stands to
gain, as there will be a real need to make these apps available on any kind of server infrastructure. That’s evident in the apps that are available, including WordPress, Alfresco Software and Sugar CRM.
BitNami will face its own set of challenges as the complexity to deploy app stores becomes commoditized. But that’s a ways off. In the meantime, it will face competitors such as AppDirect and other companies offering app store platforms.