On October 6, application delivery vendor Appcito announced the addition of one-click provisioning of security rules for applications that run on the Amazon Web Services cloud. Appcito’s CAFÉ platform features load balancing, application security and application-related analytics via an application delivery architecture marked by limitless scalability. Appcito’s announcement of the ability to deploy security rules for their AWS applications by means of one click streamlines and simplifies the deployment of security rules and parameters. Customers can choose from a pre-defined library of security rules for popular frameworks such as WordPress, Joomla and SharePoint. Appcito’s pre-defined library of security rules empowers customers to deploy the appropriate security configuration for their application without extensive experimentation and testing. Moreover, Appcito updates rules daily to ensure their efficacy against the latest and greatest security threats. The security platform includes a web application firewall, Layer 4 Network Protection, Layer 7 DDoS, IP blacklisting and Bot protection. In addition to protection against security threats, the Appcito platform provides security analytics that allow users to customize their security rules and algorithms. The uniqueness of this week’s announcement, however, consists in Appcito’s ability to provision security rules with one click from a pre-defined library of security templates. Given the bewildering heterogeneity of cloud application security offerings in the contemporary software security landscape, the Appcito platform differentiates by way of its ability to simplify the process of adding security to cloud-based applications while concurrently offering customers a trove of rich analytics that they can mine to customize their deployment to respond to specific security threats and exigencies as illustrated below:
Today, Pivotal announces that Pivotal Web Services will render Pivotal Cloud Foundry available in conjunction with Amazon Web Services as its hosted infrastructure. By making Pivotal Cloud Foundry available via a virtual appliance that supports its deployment on Amazon Web Services, Pivotal extends its support for IaaS platforms that currently include VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud Air and OpenStack. As a result of its support of Amazon Web Services, Pivotal embraces the creation of hybrid cloud infrastructures for Cloud Foundry that feature a combination of VMware or OpenStack-based on premise environments as well as Amazon’s famed public cloud infrastructure. In addition to its availability via one-click integration with Amazon Web Services, Pivotal Cloud Foundry is available as an Amazon Machine Image in the AWS Marketplace. The screenshot below illustrates Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s integration with Amazon Web Services alongside a bevy of other integrations and tools for managing a Pivotal Cloud Foundry deployment:
Now generally available, Pivotal Web Services with Enterprise support manages an AWS instance on behalf of the customer, thereby absolving customers of the challenge of managing the AWS environment as it scales and morphs in relation to the demands of application and data ingestion.
James Watters, Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Platform Group at Pivotal, remarked on the significance of today’s announcement as follows:
With the latest Pivotal Cloud Foundry release, Pivotal becomes the first major middleware vendor to include managed public cloud capacity in a software subscription at no additional cost. By offering hosted public cloud along with dedicated self-install on either public or private clouds, Pivotal Cloud Foundry provides the instant-on affordable capacity Line of Business (LOB) executives need with the robust security and automation features IT can also bring to private clouds. With today’s release, LOB and IT can finally agree on a single platform.
Here, Watters notes how Pivotal includes support for Amazon Web Services in a Cloud Foundry subscription at no additional cost. Moreover, by supporting a private cloud, Watters remarks on how Pivotal delivers enhanced operational agility to Line of Business teams that may have an interest in leveraging a public cloud for development purposes in advance of the decision to transport their applications back to the on premise environments specific to their organization. All told, Pivotal’s support of Amazon Web Services for its Cloud Foundry distribution aptly exemplifies the quintessence of Pivotal’s mission of enhancing enterprise agile application development by means of cutting edge technologies at the nexus of cloud computing and application development. In addition, Pivotal’s support of AWS for Pivotal Cloud Foundry dramatically enhances the potential for Cloud Foundry-based application portability and moves the needle of cloud native application development toward enhanced interoperability and the adoption of open standards for contemporary computing.
Last Thursday, November 13, Amazon Web Services announced the availability of EC2 Container Service (ECS) to facilitate the management of Docker technology qua containers on the Amazon Web Services platform. The announcement represents another notable endorsement of Docker technology by a major cloud vendor that promises to continue catapulting Docker’s container technology to the forefront of the cloud computing revolution. Docker, recall, is a platform that enables developers to create and transport distributed applications. Docker streamlines software development by ensuring that applications housed within Docker containers remain unchanged when transported from one environment to another, thereby reducing the probability that applications which run smoothly in test environments fail in production. Docker’s container technology also introduces greater efficiencies with respect to the creation of applications by means of well defined parameters regarding application dependencies that enable developers to more effectively diagnose bugs and performance-related issues as they arise.
ECS enables Amazon customers to create clusters featuring thousands of containers across multiple Availability Zones. Moreover, ECS empowers customers to terminate and start containers in addition to providing scheduling functionality that optimizes the collective performance of containers within a cluster. ECS also allows users to transport containers from the AWS platform to on-premise infrastructures and vice versa while additionally providing deep AWS integration that allows customers to take advantage of AWS’s “Elastic IP addresses, resource tags, and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)” that effectively transform Docker containers into another layer of the AWS platform on par with EC2 and S3, according to a blog post by Amazon’s Jeff Barr. Amazon’s announcement of its EC2 Container Service for container management means that it accompanies Microsoft and Google in offering support for Docker deployment, management and orchestration. Google’s Kubernetes project enables Docker container management on the Google Cloud Platform, while Microsoft Azure recently announced support for Kubernetes on the Azure platform.
The bottom line here is that Docker’s ability to enable the deployment of applications within containers as opposed to virtual machines has captured the minds of developers and enterprise customers to such a degree that the most significant IaaS players in the industry are differentially announcing indigenous or borrowed support for Docker technology. The key question now concerns the extent to which Docker usage proliferates to the point where it becomes the de facto standard for the deployment of applications and whether its technology can support the convergence of cloud computing and Big Data in the form of data-intensive applications designed to perform analytics on real-time, streaming data. Docker users will also be interested in container management frameworks that inter-operate across cloud frameworks such as Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services in contrast to management frameworks designed for one cloud infrastructure as opposed to another.
Last Thursday, Piston Cloud (Piston) and Pivotal announced a partnership whereby Piston will deliver the community OpenStack infrastructure for Cloud Foundry. The partnership enables Pivotal to continue refining the integration of Cloud Foundry with OpenStack that Piston achieved last year. Thursday’s announcement means that Cloud Foundry’s developer ecosystem will be tightly integrated with Piston’s OpenStack distribution in order to ensure the resulting IaaS-PaaS, OpenStack-Cloud Foundry infrastructure successfully negotiates challenges related to continuous integration, rapid release cycles and scalability considerations. Piston’s co-founder and CTO, Joshua McKenty, will serve on the Cloud Foundry Advisory Board and Piston will continue to function as a partner for rapid deployments of Cloud Foundry.
James Watters, the head of product, marketing, and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry, remarked on the work specific to the integration in an interview with The Register by noting, “there’s a fair amount of work to make sure an IaaS and a PaaS like Cloud Foundry that automates itself through APIs all flows together very well” and that “every hour of every day Cloud Foundry gets tested on Piston.” Meanwhile, Joshua McKenty identified some of the integration issues that the partnership proposes to examine as follows:
We actually did most of the work to make sure Cloud Foundry could run on OpenStack last year. It’s not a tremendously complicated API, but it is important that it’s consistent and reliable. One of the things we’ve really focused on with Piston OpenStack is making sure the services are highly available, so as you scale up the scope of the Cloud Foundry environment on top, the IaaS environment can handle it.
Here, McKenty singles out the consistency and reliability of the Cloud Foundry API and the scalability of the OpenStack infrastructure in relation to the Cloud Foundry platform as topics for investigation. In a guest blog post for Cloud Foundry, McKenty further noted that Piston’s aim is to “to keep up with and continue to support the growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem” given that the fundamental goal of cloud computing is “really just about providing the computing resources to keep up with the fast-paced DevOps and Agile lifecycle.” In other words, Piston intends to “keep up with” Cloud Foundry not only from a scalability perspective, but also in the context of its rapidly evolving, agile-driven code base and enhancements.
Overall, the partnership represents a huge coup for Piston given that it was hand-picked from the cottage industry of OpenStack vendors and distributions. More importantly, however, the announcement underscores the weight of the market momentum in favor of open-source based cloud computing platforms. Moreover, Thursday’s partnership increases the commercial viability of Cloud Foundry insofar as it was motivated in part by customer requests and interest. The industry should expect McKenty to bring his expertise in OpenStack governance to Cloud Foundry’s emerging governance structure and help drive a rapid expansion in Pivotal’s partnering companies and organizations with respect to Cloud Foundry. As the integration between OpenStack and Cloud Foundry matures courtesy of the Pivotal-Piston partnership, we may even see the evolution of a formal collaboration beween OpenStack’s governance structure and Cloud Foundry’s emerging model of governance and open source software leadership.
CloudShare recently announced the release of a self-service lab that enables customers to create customized environments for development and testing in ways designed to radically accelerate the time to market for new applications and accelerate cycles for bug enhancements and new releases. The announcement means that developers can now provision IT resources and infrastructures to meet their testing and QA needs on demand. With CloudShare’s self-service lab, developers can conduct testing that allows teams to freeze bugs and take snapshots of applications and databases in addition to running multiple tests in parallel on replicated infrastructures.
CloudShare CEO Zvi Guterman commented on the value proposition of the CloudShare labs by remarking on how they facilitate access to IT resources for testing as follows:
Limited and slow access to infrastructure causes delays in release cycles and puts testing at risk of being incomplete, resulting in bugs in production. Lack of access to IT infrastructure and the limitation of existing solutions remain huge barriers to rapid innovation. With CloudShare Labs, application development and testing organizations work faster and companies will find a competitive advantage by gaining access to IT resources at the speed of development.
Guterman underscores the importance of developer access to dedicated IT resources that support development and testing. But the real innovation of CloudShare Labs consists in its ability to deliver advanced QA functionality that allows developers to more expeditiously fix bugs by way of the following functionality:
•Multi-VM disks can be leveraged to freeze bugs, fix them and reinsert the corrected the version into the original application
•The ability to replicate master environments to isolate and rectify defects caused by incorrect configuration
•Cross-functional team collaboration by way of a web browser console
•Libraries and templates of applications for subsequent testing and reference
The larger point, here, is that CloudShare expands the options for application development and testing to the cloud and delivers an environment with targeted testing functionality that is compatible with the Jenkins continuous integration server and the Microsoft Team Foundation Server. Enterprises can leverage their VPN platforms to share testing results with geographically dispersed teams and stakeholders. In addition to testing, customers can use the CloudShare platform fundamentally for development purposes as well by spinning up infrastructures designed for agile development and testing by uploading their own VMs or using CloudShare’s library of templates for virtual machines.
This week, EMC and its subsidiary VMware revealed details of the vision behind Pivotal, its spin-off company financed in part by $105 million in capital from GE. In a webcast announcing the launch of Pivotal on Wednesday, Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz, formerly CEO of VMware from 2008 to 2012, remarked that Pivotal attempts to bring to enterprises the technology platforms that have allowed internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services to efficiently operate IT infrastructures on a massive scale while concurrently demonstrating cost and performance efficiencies in application development and data analytics.
Referring specifically to Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services, Maritz elaborated on the strengths of their IT infrastructure as follows:
If you look at the way they do IT, it is significantly different than the way enterprises do IT. Specifically, they are good at storing large amounts of data and drawing information from it in a cost-effective manner. They can develop applications very quickly. And they are good at automating routines. They used these three capabilities together to introduce new experiences and business processes that have yielded — depended on how you want to count it — a trillion dollars in market value.
According to Maritz, the internet giants are a cut above everyone else with respect to data storage, data analytics, application development and automation. Enterprises, in contrast, leverage comparatively archaic IT infrastructures marked by on premise data centers and attempts to migrate to the cloud in conjunction with meager data analytics capability and poor or non-existent IT automation and orchestration processes. As a result, the enterprise market represents an opportunity to deploy technology platforms that allow for efficient storage, data integration across disparate data sources and interactive applications with real-time responses to incoming data as Maritz notes below:
It is clear that there is a widespread need emerging for new solutions that allow customers to drive new business value by cost-effectively reasoning over large datasets, ingesting information that is rapidly arriving from multiple sources, writing applications that allow real-time reactions, and doing all of this in a cloud-independent or portable manner. The need for these solutions can be found across a wide range of industries and it is our belief that these solutions will drive the need for new platforms. Pivotal aims to be a leading provider of such a platform. We are honored to work with GE, as they seek to drive new business value in the age of the Industrial Internet.
More specifically, Pivotal will provide a platform as a service infrastructure called Pivotal One that brings the capabilities currently enjoyed by the likes of Facebook and Google to enterprises in ways that allow them to continue their transition to cloud-based IT infrastructures while concurrently enjoying all of the benefits of advanced storage, analytics and agile application development. In other words, Pivotal One marks the confluence of Big Data, Cloud, Analytics and Application Development in a bold play to commoditize the IT capabilities held by a handful of internet giants and render them available to the enterprise through a PaaS platform.
Pivotal One’s key components include the following:
Pivotal Data Fabric
A platform for data storage and analytics based on Pivotal HD, which features an enterprise-grade distribution of Apache Hadoop in addition to Pivotal HD’s HAWQ analytics platform.
Pivotal Cloud and Application Platform
An application development framework for Java for the enterprise based on Cloud Foundry and Spring.
Pivotal Expert Services
Professional services for agile application development and data analytics.
Open Source Support
Active support of open source projects such as but not limited to Spring, Cloud Foundry, RabbitMQ™, Redis, OpenChorus™.
Pivotal currently claims Groupon, EMI, and Salesforce.com among its customer base. The company already has 1250 employees and, given GE’s financing and interests, is poised to take a leadership role in the industrial internet space whereby objects such as automobiles, washers, dryers and other appliances deliver real-time data to a circuit of analytic dashboards that iteratively provide feedback, automation and control. Pivotal One also represents a nascent trend within the Platform as a Service industry whereby PaaS is increasingly evolving into an “everything as a service” platform that sits atop various IaaS infrastructures. For example, CumuLogic recently announced news of a platform that allows customers to build Amazon Web Services-like infrastructures marked by suites of IaaS, Big Data, PaaS and application development infrastructures on top of private clouds behind their enterprise firewall. EMC’s Pivotal One is expected to be generally available by the end of 2013.