Startup AppScale has launched its open-source backup up service for Google App Engine (GAE), which is compatible with standard cloud services that developers use when building apps.

The company, which was one of six startups that presented at the Structure conference last week, stood out even if it did not win an award for overall best startup and even though it wasn’t the audience award winner. Here’ why: It is a backup Platform as a Service (PaaS) for a PaaS and infrastructure services.

ScaleSafe, the company’s first product, automates the failover and migration of cloud apps and data from GAE. Company Co-founder and CTO Chandra Krintz calls the service a portability layer between a developer’s app and cloud services.

Krintz said the AppScale platform supports standard services such as NoSQL storage, SQL storage, object/blog storage, data caching, authentication, full text search, background multitasking, MapReduce and other services.

AppScale, which launched last week, is available for installation on a company’s own servers either as source code or a virtual machine. With it, developers can write against the AppScale API to get the backup capability. The company lists VirtualBox, Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, OpenStack and CloudStack, Eucalyptus and Rackspace as infrastructures it can run on.

At API Days this weekend, when attendees asked about the viability of PaaS and backend as a service (BaaS), it reminded me AppScale’s capabilities. There are dozens of PaaS providers, and the BaaS market is not much different. The companies that provide services in these markets represent a new reality that demands apps be built faster than ever before. The hand-stitched software stack is getting replaced by the pre-configured developer environment. AnyPresence, for example, is a meta-API that served as a BaaS.

And so I take exception when I hear people say there is not a market for Paas or BaaS. In fact, it’s arguable that the next wave of API management companies will look more like Paas or BaaS platforms than the one-dimensional services that marked the early days of the API movement.

But the market will not emerge if there is not a data-backup capability. That’s where companies like AppScale enter the picture. The storage market boomed over the past decade due to the need for backup. Services like AppScale have the potential to attract attention for the similar values they provide to enterprise app developers.

There should be ways to back up apps from different PaaS providers. Heroku has had several outages in the past two years, and AWS has had its fair share. AppScale is the kind of service needed to avoid the expensive losses that can come with a down service.

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