Heroku Consolidates Leadership In PaaS With Enterprise For Java Platform

Salesforce.com recently consolidated Heroku’s leadership position in the Platform as a Service space by announcing Heroku Enterprise for Java, a component of the Salesforce.com platform that streamlines the development and deployment of enterprise-grade Java applications. Heroku Enterprise For Java provides developers with a pre-packaged Java solution that can be provisioned with the click of a mouse. Whereas traditional models of Java development require the coordination of a constellation of resources including source-code control systems, integration servers, load balancers, test and staging environments and in-memory caching systems, Heroku Enterprise for Java delivers a unified infrastructure for Java development and testing.

The basic premise of Enterprise for Java is to simplify the process of Java development by reducing the number of steps required for deployment as well as expanding the range of development options. Heroku’s chief operating officer Orin Teich remarked that Heroku Enterprise for Java “can bring 80 [development and deployment] steps down to four,” assuming a high quality implementation of the application.

Heroku Enterprise for Java features the following components:

•Complete Java stack
•Heroku runtime and tools
•Support for core Java Development Kit, Java Virtual Machine, JDK 7 and JDK 8
•Memcache for session management
•Postgres for relational data management
•Separate environments for development and staging
•Support for Eclipse
•Direct deployment of WAR files
•Enterprise-grade support

Teich elaborated on the innovation of the Heroku Enterprise for Java platform as follows:

“Enterprise developers have been looking for a better way to easily create innovative applications without the hassle of building out a back-end infrastructure. With Heroku Enterprise for Java, developers get all the benefits of developing in Java along with the ease of using an open, cloud platform in a single click.”

Heroku did support Java development previously, along with Node.js, Scala, Clojure and Python and PHP. However, the Enterprise for Java Platform is designed to expand the platform’s appeal to large-scale enterprises in addition to startups and small to medium size businesses. Meanwhile, Salesforce is working hard to integrate its Force.com platform with Heroku through Force.com Canvas, which enables applications coded in other languages into the Force.com platform. Because Salesforce’s Force.com platform is coded in its proprietary APEX language, Force.com Canvas steers the company in the direction of allowing applications built on the Heroku platform to pull metadata from the Salesforce Force.com infrastructure.


FatFractal Emerges From Stealth To Disrupt Backend As a Service (BaaS) Landscape

This week, San Francisco-based startup FatFractal emerged from stealth mode to announce the availability of a cloud-based Backed as a Service (BaaS) that provides an engine-driven platform for application development with an array of differentiating features. FatFractal’s key differentiator is the way its patent-pending architecture allows developers access to its backend configuration, thereby allowing for customization of the backend environment that correspondingly gives developers greater control and possibilities for deployment optimization.

Kevin Nickels, President of FatFractal, remarked on FatFractal’s backend transparency as follows:

The Backend as a Service (BaaS) companies provide an instant datastore but the backends they provide are mostly black boxes to application developers. FatFractal gives developers easy access and control over their backends offering productivity improvements of up to 70 percent for applications with complex backend requirements, significantly improving time to market and lowering the cost of development.

FatFractal’s ability to grant developers the opportunity to view and configure its backend is likely to sit well with developers that may benefit from quickly tweaking a backend configuration as opposed to spending significant amounts of time writing code that faces the constraint of conforming to a static, “black box” backend environment. Additionally, FatFractal delivers an instant backend that dynamically understands the data structure specific to an application. Developers can also map customized schemas to backend data stores using the FatFractal Definition Language.

Like most Backend as a Service vendors, FatFractal’s platform provides all apps with an instant, customizable, REST API, over the wire transmission of object information using JSON/HTTP, and inherent authentication to login and logout for user and group objects. Moreover, FatFractal boasts enterprise-grade declarative security, datagraph functionality to model complex, many to many relationships in a NoSQL datastore, and the ability to operate locally on any infrastructure that supports JVM and deploy to the cloud with a single command.

Pricing is highly competitive given that the Silver Tier services are free during FatFractal’s public beta. Proposed pricing at the Platinum level offers unlimited domains, 25 million API requests, 30 GB of storage, 25 GB of outgoing bandwidth and unlimited incoming bandwidth. FatFractal competes with the likes of Parse, Kinvey, CloudMine and StackMob, but is not exclusively dedicated to mobile application development like some of its BaaS competitors.

VMware, Intel and NEC Become Gold Members Of OpenStack Foundation

On Friday, VMware, Intel and NEC were approved by the OpenStack Board of Directors as gold members of the OpenStack Foundation. Gold members of the Foundation provide the foundation with .025% of their company revenue, with a minimum contribution of $50,000 and a maximum contribution of $200,000. Based on their applications, VMware, Intel and NEC will contribute $66,666.67, $200,000 and $200,000 respectively to the OpenStack Foundation.

OpenStack’s governance structure permits of two levels of participation in the form of Gold and Platinum members. Platinum members contribute $500,000 annually and additionally commit to providing operational resources as well. Companies from both tiers are expected to contribute code to and support OpenStack’s development in an “open development process that is driven by technical meritocracy.”

The updated list of Gold and Platinum members now features a total of 22 organizations as follows:

Platinum Members: AT&T, Canonical, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Nebula, Rackspace, Red Hat and SUSE
Gold members: Cloudscaling, ClearPath Networks, Cisco, Cloud Computing Association In Taiwan, Dell, DreamHost, Intel, Mirantis, Morphlabs, NetApp, NEC, Piston Cloud Computing, VMware, Yahoo

In a letter announcing the acceptance of VMware, Intel and NEC to the OpenStack board, Board Chairman Jonathon Bryce commented on factors considered by the board in approving their applications as follows:

Today, the OpenStack Board of Directors approved the applications of three companies wishing to become Gold Members: Intel, NEC and VMware.

The factors considered by the Board included a commitment to helping achieve the OpenStack Foundation Mission through demonstrated and potential contribution to the OpenStack community in terms of code, adoption into product roadmaps, adoption as an end user, geographic and industry diversity and community development efforts.

New Gold Members will be represented by the eight elected Gold Member directors currently serving on the Board.

We would like to welcome them to the Foundation, and look forward to their continued contributions to our community.

VMware’s application for a Gold member spot in the OpenStack Foundation was put on hold from late August, leading many commentators in the cloud blogosphere to speculate that VMware’s acceptance into the Foundation was delayed because its vCloud suite poses a competitive threat to OpenStack as a proprietary cloud platform. The reality is that the more support OpenStack receives from private vendors, even proprietary cloud vendors such as VMware, the better given that their support lends more credibility to the OpenStack brand and embodies the potential for collaboration between proprietary cloud platforms and the emerging incarnations of the OpenStack product. Moreover, VMware recently acquired virtual networking leader and OpenStack contributor Nicira. VMware also supports the open source Cloud Foundry PaaS project, which is likely to feature alongside OpenStack in hybrid cloud environments marked by a combination of IaaS and PaaS environments.

Nebula Secures $25 Million In Series B Funding

IaaS, private cloud startup Nebula today announced the finalization of a $25 million round of Series B funding led by Comcast Ventures, with additional participation from Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Innovation Endeavors and well known investors Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton and Ram Shriram. Other investors include Harris Barton, William Hearst III, Scott McNealy and Maynard Webb as well as the Silicon Valley Bank.

The $25 million in equity and debt financing will enable the expansion of the private Beta that was launched in March for unnamed companies in the technology, financial services, biopharma and media verticals. The funding round also enables the expansion of Nebula’s product development team, development of a “petascale test system” and the overall acceleration of the delivery of its products.

Founded by former NASA CTO Chris Kemp, Nebula plays in the private cloud space for enterprises. Nebula’s core technology is based on OpenStack and provides a means for enterprises to quickly create a massive private cloud ecosystem. Details of the Nebula platform have been scant but Nebula the core concept consists of a streamlined approach to turning a private enterprise data center into an Infrastructure as a Service cloud that runs behind the enterprise firewall.