The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Open Source

CloudComputing

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.

Now, of course, this is a simplified version of the question, because in almost all cases Infrastructure Clouds and Platform Clouds are built on Virtual Infrastructure, and in most cases Platform Cloud is built on Infrastructure Cloud, so the question is really about how far into the Cloud you should be prepared to go. My perspective here is of a development manager – someone who is charged with building a new application. I’m thinking as a development manager not a developer and I’m taking decisions to maximise the productivity of a development team – rather than on the “shininess” of the technology.

There is now a huge amount of movement in the area of what we have called “Diverse” Platform as a Service i.e. PaaS that delivers a number of different application infrastructure technologies on a mix-and-match basis and where there is no proprietary technology layer at any point in the platform stack. Amongst these we would include OpenShift, Cumulogic and CloudFoundry from our recent set of posts. AppFog sits in this category, and the fact that it has been recently renamed from PHPFog highlights a major trend in the space, the vendors typically start by developing a single technology, build an initial business plan and gain some market traction within that niche, and then move on to supporting a broader range of platforms.

Over the last few months we have identified a trend towards “diversity” in the PaaS provider marketplace. Platform as a Service has become Platforms as a Service, the providers are offering multiple choices at each layer of the platform infrastructure, and seeing their role as automating the provisioning of properly-configured instances as required at each layer of the stack.

On Aug 2nd, there was another entrant to this “diverse” PaaS provider marketplace called Cumulogic, a startup with a PaaS cloud positioned alongside Red Hat OpenShift and VMware CloudFoundry that we identified earlier.

Over the last few months an additional subproject codenamed Quantum has emerged which deals explicitly with networking and has particpation from networking giants Intel and Cisco as well as from Citrix. It’s a mechanism for defining network topologies aimed at providing Layer-2 network connectivity for VM instances running in clouds based on the OpenStack cloud fabric. It is designed to be extensible to allow higher-level services (VPN, QoS, etc) to be built on top, and to cleanly handle the “edge of network” problem (i.e. the binding of the cloud into the internet).