CloudFoundry has just launched a Version 2 of CloudFoundry.com. Red Hat has just launched a new version of OpenShift with private PaaS support, and we are re-visiting both offerings with a view to understanding how to adopt them, using an application we are developing for various other purposes.
At this point in the evolution of PaaS, we are starting to see an enormous diversity of innovation around CloudFoundry, as multiple vendors come to market with differentiated PaaS offerings. Uhuru Software, based in Seattle, is entering its second Beta phase with the Uhuru PaaS, with a major focus on .NET support.
As mentioned in a number of posts, there is a clear trend away from Platform-specific PaaS (where you write your application to the platform) and Language-Specific PaaS (which provide support to one or possibly a couple of languages) to Universal PaaS, which is capable of supporting any language and any platform. There’s a little bit of a gray area, but we would include ActiveState Stackato, AppFog, dotCloud, GigaSpaces Cloudify, Red Hat OpenShift, Salesforce Heroku, Uhuru Software AppCloud and VMWare CloudFoundry in this category. These vendors differentiate themselves by providing a broad range of Application Services or Application Lifecycle Services.
AppFog (the company formerly known as PhpFog) has become the latest enthusiastic adopter of CloudFoundry to go to General Availability with a value-added implementation of the open source CloudFoundry.org stack. The key differentiator is the RAM-based pricing policy around the Public Cloud offering – roughly $25 per GByte per month (first 2Gbytes are Free).
ActiveState Stackato and CumuLogic are private PaaS. Over the last few weeks Stackato has moved to a 2.0 version and CumuLogic has moved out of Beta to a 1.0 release. CumuLogic 1.0 is a Java-only PaaS with support for Amazon, HP Cloud Services, and private clouds including Citrix CloudStack, Eucalyptus, OpenStack and VMware vSphere. Stackato has a similar range of public and privae IaaS on which it operates (vSphere, KVM, XenServer, OpenStack, EC2 AMI, HP CS) but it has a much broader set of language compatibilities including .NET.ther new features in Version 2.0 are a centralized web-based management console and some support for charge-back (i.e. billing) through API. Performace management is through integration with New Relic. There is additional security support in multi-tenancy by using Linux Containers (LXC).
ActiveState has created a Private PaaS that supports Perl and Python as well as Java, and is based on the Open Source CloudFoundry distribution, packaged and distributed in a VM image, or installed to a wide range of IaaS platforms (public or private).
ActiveState is well known in Open Source communities as packaging/distribution vendor for dynamic languages – Perl, Python and Tcl. A sort of Red Hat for dynamic development languages. It also has a Komodo IDE for these languages, and a strong pedigree in contributing back into the Open Source projects which it packages. Stackato is also essentially a packaging of these and other Open Source technologies. It’s an interesting take on the PaaS space – PaaS becomes a packaging problem – just like the Linux Distro. For the customer, the choice of PaaS/Distro is partly about the breadth in the package and partly the mix of pricing, support and warranty offered by the PaaS/Distro.
To recap the story so far, I’m prototyping an application and deploying it to various PAAS environments. I am not getting any special help from any of the vendors in this exercise – you can think of me as a “secret shopper” for PaaS, although I don’t hide my identity. I am approaching each platform on its own merits, and in these posts I am recounting and contrasting my experiences and reaching some general conclusions about the PaaS market.