On Tuesday, ActiveState announced a partnership with Microsoft Azure that renders the Stackato Platform as a Service available on Azure. Built on Cloud Foundry, Stackato PaaS supports Docker and integrates with a multitude of third party products such as New Relic, Splunk and various database platforms. Stackato’s enterprise-grade PaaS platform enhances the operational agility of developers by delivering a pre-configured, polyglot application development stack based on the open source Cloud Foundry platform. Stackato’s enterprise-grade security and professional services offerings allows customers to leverage the benefits of an open source platform derived from the contributions of developers all over the world, in conjunction with enterprise-grade user management and security functionality. Moreover, Stackato’s support for Docker renders it ideal for the development of distributed applications marked by enhanced portability both at the level of individual and multiple containers. ActiveState’s partnership with Microsoft Azure marks a coup for Stackato given that it is now available on one of the industry’s most popular IaaS platforms. Conversely, Stackato’s availability on Microsoft Azure represents yet another feather in Azure’s cap and a differentiator from Amazon Web Services, which offers only one PaaS on its IaaS platform in the form of Elastic Beanstalk. Azure already features Apprenda as another enterprise-grade PaaS on its platform in a clear sign that it intends to continue to differentiate itself from AWS by supporting a wider range of vendors and third party partnerships. With Apprenda and ActiveState Stackato available on its platform, Azure stands poised to brand itself as the IaaS with the richest set of partnership offerings, particularly in the PaaS space where IaaS and PaaS partnerships continue to proliferate as evinced by the forthcoming availability of both ActiveState Stackato and Apprenda on the Cisco Intercloud Marketplace. Meanwhile, Stackato’s Cloud Foundry-based polyglot PaaS functionality and support for Docker renders it a leader in enterprise PaaS that promises to broaden its reach further by means of its collaboration with Azure.
ActiveState today announced the release of Stackato 3.4, the polyglot platform as a service based on Cloud Foundry. Key features of the release include advanced version control functionality that allows customers to roll-back an application to a previous version with zero downtime. Version 3.4 also features enhanced audit controls that give administrators streamlined visibility regarding user access to the platform. Today’s release also contains enhancements to Stackato’s quota usage dashboard in conjunction with more granular application monitoring and management functionality. Moreover, Stackato 3.4 contains notable upgrades to its system upgrade functionality that facilitate upgrades from one version of the platform to another. Like all Stackato releases, Stackato 3.4 features an upstream merge with Cloud Foundry to ensure ongoing compatibility with Cloud Foundry code. Altogether, this release renders Stackato even more suitable for enterprise-grade platform as a service deployments by building upon Stackato 3.2’s enhancements related to security, scalability and ease of management as evinced by version 3.2’s introduction of single sign-on and auto-scaling.
As a hardened, enterprise-ready version of Cloud Foundry, Stackato 3.4’s simplicity and depth of PaaS functionality constitutes a refreshing alternative to the complexity implicit in deploying an IaaS infrastructure from scratch as illustrated by the emerging proliferation of managed cloud services for IaaS. Moreover, its broad range of support for languages and database platforms sets it apart from competing PaaS vendors such as Apprenda and Engine Yard that specialize in a more narrow subset of scripting languages and frameworks. In conjunction with today’s release, ActiveState will be offering users with a free license the ability to spin up a Stackato cluster with up to 20 GB of RAM that runs either on customer infrastructure or a public cloud. The industry should expect Stackato to continue gaining traction in the PaaS space and deepening its relationships with IaaS infrastructures such as the AWS Marketplace and the Citrix Marketplace that variously provide opportunities to extend the reach of the Stackato platform even further.
ActiveState today announced that cloud computing luminary Bernard Golden has joined the ActiveState leadership team as Vice President of Strategy. Golden is a cloud computing thought leader known for his cloud computing blog for CIO.com that Sys-Con-Media recognized as one of the top 50 cloud computing blogs. Golden has also held roles as the Director of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Solutions for Dell Cloud Manager as a result of Dell’s acquisition of Enstratius and CEO of HyperStratus. At Enstratius, Golden served as VP of Enterprise Solutions prior to its acquisition by Dell. Enstratius provides an infrastructure management solution that enables organizations to manage governance issues related to the use of public, private and hybrid clouds. Previously, as CEO of HyperStratus, Golden led a cloud computing consulting firm on topics such as cloud strategy, security and governance issues for clients that included Pepsi, Unilever and Chunghwa Telecom.
Golden commented on the opportunities enabled by ActiveState’s Stackato polyglot platform as a service solution as follows:
The Stackato solution provides the cloud governance and agility that enterprises require, alongside development, deployment and social monitoring tools for next generation innovation. ActiveState is well-positioned for continued growth. I look forward to being part of the ActiveState team and helping our customers leverage cost-savings, accelerate app deployment and innovate.
Here, Golden speaks to the strengths of Stackato’s governance functionality, monitoring tools and ability to accommodate the needs of enterprise customers regarding application development. Known as a “cloud guru” by several audiences and constituencies, Golden stands to contribute significantly to the next phase of ActiveState’s growth as it continues to build upon licensing partnerships with HP and another unnamed large cloud provider. Golden’s relationships within the cloud computing space and track record of building high-growth cloud-based companies means that ActiveState is poised to transform its existing profitability into an even greater share of contemporary PaaS market share over the next one to two years. The obvious question now will be whether the company’s strategic direction will shift markedly under his direction and if so, what course it will take.
ActiveState Stackato 3.2 Delivers An Enterprise Hardened PaaS With Enhanced Security And Ease Of Management
This week, polyglot private PaaS vendor ActiveState announced the release of ActiveState Stackato 3.2, which features an array of enhancements that collectively focus on improving the security, scalability and ease of management of the platform. Version 3.2 delivers single sign-on functionality to ensure that access to the application complies with the identity management protocols of customers. In addition, this release upgrades the granularity of application-related permissions in order to give system administrators expanded control over who has access to specific components of the Stackato PaaS in conjunction with the ability to tweak their rights and permissions. Version 3.2 also offers placement zones and availability zones that allow customers to deploy their applications across multiple data centers or specific spheres of hardware in order to ensure the availability of applications in the event of infrastructure failover specific to one data center or set of infrastructure. Moreover, Stackato 3.2 supports application auto-scaling to maximize application availability during peak usage periods while concurrently scaling down the application during periods of diminished usage. Stackato’s auto-scaling functionality extends to Stackato on CloudStack or the Citrix CloudPlatform. Version 3.2 also features enhancements to Stackato’s management console in the form of additional dashboards that provide administrators with visual representations of the status of usage across placement and availability zones as well as memory availability and allocations across a cluster.
Stackato version 3.2 goes a long way toward rendering the Stackato platform fit for production usage amongst enterprise customers that demand granular permissions, single sign-on functionality, auto-scaling and the ability to deploy applications in multiple placement and availability zones. As such, the release constitutes yet another example of an enterprise-grade PaaS at a historical moment when PaaS technologies have been overshadowed by price wars in the IaaS space and industry innovations specific to Big Data analytics and management. Stackato, recall, is built on technology from the Cloud Foundry initiative and supports development languages such as, but not limited to, Java, Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Erlang, Scala, Clojure and Mono. This week’s release illustrates the depth of innovation originating from one of the industry’s key PaaS players at a time when IaaS continues to overshadow PaaS despite the uniqueness of PaaS technology and its clear differentiation from IaaS.
Dell is incubating a new platform as a service offering built upon the Cloud Foundry PaaS infrastructure. The product, Project Fast PaaS, claims enhancements to the Cloud Foundry PaaS project. Project Fast PaaS boasts compatibility with Ruby, Node.js, Java, PHP and Python in addition to support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and Redis databases as well as the RabbitMQ messaging system. An open-source solution, the product additionally features compatibility with application development frameworks such as Django, Grails, JavaWeb, Lift, Node, Play, Rack, Rails, Sinatra and Spring. Participants must already subscribe to Dell’s IaaS enterprise public cloud, Dell vCloud, in order to preview Dell’s Project Fast PaaS offering.
Dell’s investment in Project Fast PaaS illustrates the emerging currency of the VMware-EMC Cloud Foundry PaaS platform as the de facto standard infrastructure for Platform as a Service offerings. ActiveState’s Stackato, for example, which is similarly based upon the Cloud Foundry platform has recently been licensed by HP for HP’s Cloud Application PaaS offering. The other trend represented by Dell’s PaaS offering consists of the willingness of heavyweight tech behemoths such as Dell and HP to supplement their IaaS public cloud offering with a PaaS solution of some kind. IaaS customers are likely to want a PaaS offering as well, and correspondingly, PaaS may well end us serving as an originator for IaaS customers. The industry should expect to see more IaaS-PaaS combination offerings as public cloud vendors, in particular, strive to accommodate demands for preconfigured development frameworks from their customers alongside their IaaS platforms.
This week, HP made a number of significant announcements related to its HP Cloud Services platform. The company revealed an aggressive pricing strategy for its OpenStack-based, Infrastructure as a Service, public cloud platform known as HP Cloud Compute including a 50% promotion that lasts until January 1, 2013. The aggressive positioning of HP Cloud Compute underscores the technological viability of OpenStack as a key player in the commercial, public cloud IaaS space given that, separate from Rackspace and Red Hat, yet another technology giant has elected to build a public cloud infrastructure on the OpenStack platform.
HP Cloud Compute has now transitioned from Beta to general availability. Pricing starts at $0.04 cents/hour for the “extra small” Linux-based HP instance marked by 1 HP Cloud Compute Unit featuring 1 virtual core w/1 HP Cloud Compute Unit, 1 GB RAM and 30 GB disk space. In comparison, the smallest Amazon Web Services Linux instance features a comparable 1.7 GB memory and a significantly larger storage allocation of 160GB at the rate of $.065/hour. HP Cloud Compute’s price of $.04/hour to $.065/hour for Amazon Web Services amounts to a significant cost savings, particularly if instance disk space beyond 30 GB is not required.
When comparing the two medium-sized offerings, however, Amazon Web Services comes out on top not only in price but with respect to specifications as well. The medium HP Cloud Compute instance features 4 HP Cloud Compute Units containing a total of 2 virtual cores with 2 HP Cloud Compute Units each, 4 GB RAM and 120 GB of disk space. The medium-sized Amazon Web Services Linux instance, in comparison, contains an analogous 4 EC2 compute units via 2 virtual cores containing 2 EC2 compute units each, 7.5 GB memory and 850 GB of instance disk space. Pricing compares at $.16/hour for HP Cloud Compute versus $.13/hour for Amazon Web Services, with the AWS medium-sized offering surpassing HP on memory and storage metrics as well.
Separate from HP Cloud Compute, HP announced the Beta launch of HP Cloud Block Storage. In addition, HP revealed details of its HP Cloud Application PaaS, which provides developers with access to pre-configured technology stacks that support Ruby, PHP, Java, Node.js, Python, and other languages. The platform is based on Vancouver-based ActiveState’s Stackato technology that boasts one of the industry’s leading polyglot PaaS platforms. HP Cloud Application PaaS is currently accepting applications from interested organizations as part of a private Beta launch.
These announcements reveal how HP is making an aggressive push into the IaaS space by luring customers into trying their HP Cloud Compute platform with their 50% discount promotion. Regardless of the promotion, pricing remains highly competitive, and is backed by a 99.95% SLA. The SLA is guaranteed monthly, meaning HP is committing to 100% uptime with the exception of a maximum of 22 minutes of per month, as reported in The Register. Customers that are frustrated with Amazon Web Services’s repeated outages and famed lack of customer support may well consider trying HP Cloud Compute as an option, particularly given the added allure of its interoperability in an increasingly rich commercial OpenStack ecosystem.
As the PaaS market heats up, ActiveState continues to innovate with its “any language, any stack, any cloud” PaaS platform, Stackato. Vancouver-based ActiveState recently announced the release of Stackato 2.0, building upon its version 1.2 release in May. Highlights of Stackato 2.0 include the following:
• Streamlined ability to deploy .NET applications to Stackato as a result of integration with the Iron Foundry platform. Developers can now use Stackato’s automatic configuration tool to link Stackato to Iron Foundry, the implementation of VMware’s Cloud Foundry that supports .NET.
• “Containerization technology” that creates more secure applications and improves application performance by allowing applications to operate with less resources, in a production environment featuring multiple containers for each virtual machine.
• An upgraded web-based management interface that provides increased visibility into the deployment of PaaS applications in Stackato.
• Announcements that Aeroflex is using Stackato to configure its cloud application stacks and that ExactTarget leverages Stackato for “mission-critical production cloud applications.”
ActiveState’s CEO Bart Copeland summarized the new release by noting:
“Today’s enterprise must be more agile, better engineered to innovate, and able to govern its cloud without impeding progress. Stackato 2.0 redefines private PaaS for the enterprise, enabling more agile development, greater DevOps transparency, more efficient cloud management, and faster time to market.”
Stackato now supports Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, Node.JS, Clojure, Scala, Erlang, and .NET and is emerging as a key player in the rapidly exploding PaaS space as evidenced by its aggressive roll-out cycle and clear commitments to multiple languages as well as performance.