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.
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.
NoSQL vendor Couchbase recently announced that its business partner KuroBase released a suite of products designed to render Couchbase more accessible on the Heroku platform as a service infrastructure. Specifically, KuroBase released the “Heroku Add-on for Couchbase” that allows users to provision an instance of Couchbase Server with the click of a mouse. In addition, KuroBase rendered available “Heroku Buildpacks for Ruby and Node.js” on GitHub that allow developers to quickly deploy applications coded in Ruby and Node.js within a Couchbase infrastructure on the Heroku platform. Collectively, the releases stand to render Couchbase’s NoSQL document-oriented database more widely available to the thousands of developers that use the Heroku platform and continue to accelerate its adoption. More importantly, the Couchbase-Kurobase partnership underscores the potential for synergistic collaborations between Platform as a Service (PaaS) and the NoSQL space. This week’s announcement by Couchbase illustrates the possibilities for PaaS to continue the acceleration of the adoption of NoSQL platforms for highly responsive, interactive applications in the mobile and online gaming space, amongst other use cases.
Jelastic, the Platform as Infrastructure vendor, recently announced an update to its combined PaaS-IaaS offering for Java, Ruby and PHP marked by the addition of performance, scalability and security functionality. The new version (version 1.9.3) features enhanced garbage collection features, PHP optimization, automated scaling of PHP hosts to designated limits and more granular database and application access functionality. Because the IaaS platform is indigenous to Jelastic, the solution boasts one of the tightest integrations of PaaS and IaaS in the industry with key differentiators that include speed of deployment, maximum application density and optimal application performance. Version 1.9.3 also features billing functionality geared toward cloud service providers in line with the company’s business model of selling to enterprises, OEMs and cloud service providers. Jelastic’s Platform as Infrastructure solution represents yet another example of the co-implication of PaaS and IaaS, as illustrated most recently by the partnership between CloudBees and Verizon whereby CloudBees stands to complement Verizon’s embryonic IaaS platform.
What should the cloud computing industry make of the recent partnership between CloudBees and Verizon to render the CloudBees PaaS available on the Verizon Cloud? The obvious point worth noting is that the partnership enables CloudBees to take advantage of Verizon’s brand, partner relationships and global IT infrastructure to more effectively position its PaaS within the larger cloud landscape. More specifically, the CloudBees-Verizon partnership allows the Java-based PaaS to position itself alongside a brand-name IaaS vendor that is rapidly developing partnerships with other technology partners to enhance the Verizon IaaS platform that was revealed in October and remains in public Beta. Note that this is not the first time CloudBees has partnered with an IaaS vendor. In 2012, for example, CloudBees announced the availability of a PaaS platform branded AnyCloud on IaaS platforms such as Amazon Web Services and HP Cloud Services. The larger point here is that the CloudBees partnership with Verizon is illustrative less of the impending demise of PaaS, and more of the consolidation of IaaS as a respected sales channel for PaaS, with the attendant consequence that completely standalone PaaS vendors with no IaaS-related partnerships are becoming increasingly rare in the industry. The bottom line, however, is that the coupling of IaaS and PaaS means that PaaS has finally, irrevocably arrived, albeit not in the standalone form in which it originally emerged, but as a critical extension and offering amongst its dominant IaaS cousin in parallel with separate, dedicated PaaS sales operations teams and infrastructures.
Infochimps today announced a Big Data platform as a service that integrates with existing enterprise IT infrastructures while adding Big Data management and analytic solutions. The Infochimps platform is based on open source, web-scale technologies in addition to a cloud-based deployment structure. One of the unique features of the Infochimps solution is that it gauges the position of customers with respect to Big Data management and subsequently recommends a path toward effectively operationalizing Big Data in conjunction with customer needs. To help customers understand how to realize their Big Data needs, Infochimps complements its Big Data platform as a service with a suite of consulting services designed to guide customers through the Big Data lifecycle. Jim Kaskade, Director of CSC’s open Big Data solutions, commented on the Infochimps methodology as follows:
We’ve defined distinct phases along the Big Data adoption lifecycle where companies fall. We identify our customers’ current state, and then carefully guide them to organization-wide operationalization of Big Data insights.
Infochimps shares the insight previously articulated by Paul Maritz, CEO of Pivotal, that with the exception of companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, few enterprises have come to terms with the project of effectively operationalizing Big Data. In an interview with Raj Dalal of Big Data Insights at Strata 2014, Kaskade claimed that approximately 50% of Big Data initiatives fail due to poorly scoped projects, excessive complexity within the Big Data technology landscape and internal political friction. In response, Infochimps proposes a comprehensive Big Data implementation methodology in addition to its PaaS platform. Details remain scant but we should expect to hear more at Strata and in the coming weeks about the Infochimps methodology for assessing the customer’s current state of Big Data and subsequently designing a programmatic path focused around integrating existing technology stacks with its Big Data PaaS. Infochimps was acquired by CSC in August 2013.
Apprenda today announced the release of version 5.0 of its enterprise PaaS platform for .NET and Java. Version 5.0 boasts expanded functionality for the implementation of enterprise policies, an upgraded developer portal and the deepest integration of .NET and Java in the PaaS industry today. Apprenda’s support for enterprise policies enables administrators to determine the types of access had by developers to different machines and development environments, or to create rules that constrain the degree to which development environments scale. For example, developers can leverage Apprenda 5.0’s support for enterprise policies to specify the minimum and maximum number of instances within a development environment to ensure that aberrant code does not inadvertently spawn a fleet of unnecessary virtual machines.
Apprenda 5.0’s management console allows developers to understand, at a glance, how their ecosystem is performing as illustrated by the graphic below:
Developers can click on the red or orange bars in the top left quadrant to drill down on fatalities and errors and identify the instances and applications implicated in each category. Similarly, the top right quadrant illustrates the breakdown of Memory and CPU by application tier, whether it be websites, web services or the data tier. The visualization enabled by Apprenda 5.0’s enhanced developer portal represents part of the project of building “the most sophisticated, enterprise-grade PaaS on the market” according to Rakesh Malhotra, Apprenda’s VP of Products.
In an interview with Cloud Computing Today, Malhotra asserted the superiority of Apprenda’s Java and .NET functionality in comparison with competitors such as Cloud Foundry, Pivotal HD and Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS by noting that Apprenda delivers the most integrated version of both .NET and Java, the two most widely used development frameworks in the industry. Apprenda’s integrated support of .NET renders it particularly attractive to Windows shops, an IT constituency that is apparently gaining momentum as evinced by the decision by Hortonworks to render its Hadoop 2.0 distribution compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
Overall, Apprenda 5.0 marks a significant step toward rendering Apprenda more attractive to enterprise customers that are intensely concerned with the policies and procedures that govern PaaS deployments. Moreover, Apprenda 5.0’s dynamic visualization technology for monitoring and controlling the performance of its private PaaS deployments dovetails effectively with its policies and procedures capabilities in order to ensure effective deployment parameters and swift remediation of irregular behavior within the PaaS infrastructure. Now that Apprenda has pivoted away from its previous monolingual commitment to .NET as opposed to its current support of .NET and Java, Apprenda 5.0 represents a clear and distinct attempt to consolidate its claim to be the only enterprise-grade PaaS in the industry today. Apprenda 5.0’s attention to streamlining the implementation of policies and procedures in conjunction with a dynamic developer portal illustrates a sustained effort to listen to and realize the needs of enterprise customers. The PaaS landscape should expect the emergence of even more enterprise-friendly functionality from Apprenda over the next year as it takes advantage of its recent funding raise to accelerate product development in tandem with a parallel expansion of its sales and marketing initiatives.