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PaaSLane — “Application Modernization” Means “Cloud Ready”

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Cloud Technology Partners is now targeting both cloud readiness and application modernization projects with its PaaSLane 2.5.

We’ve been tracking PaaSLane from Cloud Technology Partners from its initial beta, through launch, and now into version 2.5. It’s an interesting product; its premise is that application code needs to be different if it is to be deployed onto the cloud. The name “PaaSLane” is a little confusing. It isn’t really focused on PaaS, but concerned with the problem of building applications that work properly and scale well in traditional infrastructure, IaaS and PaaS environments.

At its core is a “static analysis” rules engine that operates against source code to identify coding deficiencies and architectural antipatterns that will impair application functionality in cloud deployments, using a continuously evolving ruleset provided by Cloud Technology Partners. Typically, PaaSLane 2.5 will be applied to established .NET or Java applications that may be too monolithic, or use old frameworks, or contain hard-coded IP addresses, or write to a local filesystem, or send email from within the application, or suffer from a whole raft of minor issues that could cause problems on a cloud.

PaaSLane 2.5 can be used in two ways:

  1. It can police the development of new applications, automatically ensuring compliance with the required design and development standards.
  2. For existing applications that are being migrated to the cloud, it deals with the problem of automatically identifying and scoping the changes required to make an application cloud-ready.

For use case one, PaaSLane 2.5 can be bought as a continuous-use license that reports issues down to the line of code. For use case two, it can be licensed as “single-shot” or “multi-shot” to provide statistics for planning and scoping.

The analysis of code and the resulting analysis data is managed by Cloud Technology Partners as Software as a Service (SaaS). In previous versions, all source code was uploaded to the cloud for analysis. Some enterprises have concerns about the uploading of source code to the cloud, so in version 2.5, it is possible to run the analysis engine inside the firewall. Analysis data is then uploaded to the cloud in anonymized form, with only line numbers. Reports are created using this anonymized data.

Cloud Technology Partners has a specialist consulting business in ensuring the cloud readiness of applications. This skill base led to the development of the product and its rulesets. However, in the general marketplace, the company has identified two issues that have changed its go-to-market strategy:

  1. Many new applications are being built in the cloud. Customers are moving some of their existing simpler and less critical applications to the cloud, but more complex existing business-critical applications are much slower in their movement to the cloud.
  2. Where it is planned to migrate more complex applications to the cloud, they are usually subject to a more comprehensive modernization process, of which cloud readiness is only a part.

To turn point two around, as Cloud Technology Partners argues, even if it isn’t immediately anticipated that an application will be deployed to the cloud, when applications are being modernized there is a natural opportunity to make them cloud ready. Sum this up with the tagline: “Modernization Means Cloud Ready.”

Of course, one could point out two possible problems with this approach:

  • You may invest time in making your application “cloud ready” and never actually deploy it to the cloud.
  • The business of making an application cloud ready may be such a trivial part of the overall process of modernization that PaaSLane adds little value to the mix.

In reality, the situation is a bit different. It turns out that PaaSLane’s rules fall into three broad categories:

  1. Rules that are specific to a particular cloud: for example, AWS or Google App Engine
  2. Rules that apply to IaaS clouds in general
  3. Rules that are just good practice in modern application development.

The majority of the rules and logic in PaaSLane are in category three and don’t really have much to do with cloud migration at all. They are rules that would apply to any form of application modernization, irrespective of whether it was targeted at the cloud: architectural patterns like encapsulation into micro-services, the use of outdated frameworks, etc.

So, what Cloud Technology Partners has built is a generic rules engine for scoping and assisting application modernization, which happens also to make the application cloud ready.

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Mike Norman

Mike Norman

From 2009 to 2014 Dr Mike Norman was the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Open Source Cloud Computing. He covered PaaS, IaaS and associated services such as Database as a Service from an open source development and DevOps perspective. He has hands-on experience in many open source cloud technologies, and an extensive background in application lifecycle tooling; automated testing - functional, non-functional and security; digital business and DevOps. in 2014 he moved on to become Cloud Services Architect at JP Morgan Chase.

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2 Comments on "PaaSLane — “Application Modernization” Means “Cloud Ready”"

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Mike, Just one small correction: while we see IaaS is the meaty part of market adoption right now, the original purpose (and one of the strongest values) for PaaSLane is for apps that you are developing for or migrating to PaaS platforms, because PaaS have many more complex restrictions and prescriptions about what you need to do, what you can’t do, and how you should do things to have them run well (or at all). We’ve refocused beyond PaaS because the architectural issues we discover are just as valid on IaaS, virtualized, and traditional infrastructures as they are on PaaS… Read more »
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