If you have been following IT infrastructure for a while, you will have seen the rise of the cloud hailed as the solution to all of our IT problems. You will also have heard that the public cloud is like Hotel California, where you can easily check in but can never leave. I wrote a little while ago about the risks of relying on a single cloud service and the need to use multiple clouds. In order to use multiple cloud providers, you must use them in such a way as to minimize the barrier to exit. And that means using cloud-portable applications.
Articles Tagged with CloudFoundry
A couple of years ago we did two “secret shopper” posts about our fairly good experience using Red Hat OpenShift and our fairly dismal experience using CloudFoundry – then a VMware technology. CloudFoundry is now in the portfolio of a new company known as Pivotal, which 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.
The PaaS market had a major false start in the period 2009 to 2012. The first PaaS vendors came to market with one of two premises
- “we’ve got a really great platform you can use it if you want to”. Good examples are Force.com (A PaaS derived from an IaaS – salesforce.com), Google App Engine and the original version of Azure
- “it’s a great place to run applications in a particular language” – good examples are Heroku (ruby) and PhpFog (PhP)
Since 2011 a second-generation of PaaS infrastructure has emerged which is exemplified by VMware’s CloudFoundry and Red Hat’s OpenShift. The biggest change between first and second generation PaaS is in the mindset. Instead of the first “P” in Platform as a service referring to “a Platform” it now refers to “any Platform”. In other words the job of the PaaS is to support any application in any language and deliver any set of services that any application might reasonably require. Whilst the first-generation PaaS was generally monolithic, the second-generation PaaS is usually capable of being implemented on a broad range of IaaS and/or virtual infrastructure, and the key factor is openness and diversity. Thus CloudFoundry can be implemented on OpenStack.
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).