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Posts Tagged ‘Jelastic

Don’t put all eggs in one basket! June 14, 2012 outage at Amazon Web Services affected many customers and other clouds that rely on AWS (e.g. Heroku). Instead of going back to the “is cloud reliable” debate, we need to acknowledge that no single service will ever be 100% reliable, and only real solution is using more that one service provider.

Remember when Apple launched their iCloud service last year? Remember what made them architecturally so different from 99.9% of other “cloud” services out there? They used both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure as the underlying platforms. Does anyone care to guess why? Perhaps the answer in the latest news. Just read these articles about Amazon’s or Azure’s outages. Can you find iCloud mentioned anywhere as one of the affected services? No. You will see Heroku, Quora, Parse, and Pinterest – but not Apple. If one cloud fails – they still have the other one to use.

I work for a cloud platform myself (Jelastic PaaS) – and let me make it clear: no matter how much work we put into making it as reliable as we can – any services can (and will eventually) have an outage. Even a service with multiple availability zones (like AWS or Azure) will fail from time to time (happened already). Don’t cheat yourself – if you need real redundancy – use more than one provider, and do yourself a favor – check their backend platform. If you think that using AWS and Heroku is redundant – you are wrong – they are both running on AWS.

And yes, this means that you need to try to pick the services that accept the same application code. If one of the services requires your application re-written your development cost will double (e.g services like Google App Engine require pretty much complete application re-write to use it – a bad choice as a second platform.)

This is one of the reasons why in Jelastic we made a couple of important design decisions early on: make it available from multiple completely independent hosters (not Amazon, but actual real credible hosting companies) and make it 100% code compatible for any Java applications (no APIs to code to, no code changes required).

Don’t want to be in the next outage news? Pick 2 hosters and get yourself some piece of mind (obviously do check your failover to make sure you can safely stop your service at one and switch to the other one! – the only redundancy that works is the one that you test as often as you can.)

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As the world is moving to online in general and cloud in particular, what is going to happen to the $40 bln hosting industry?

Parallels (which is probably the largest software vendor for hosters) published video recordings from their Parallels Summit 2012, including this keynote fro their founder Serguei Beloussov. At 31:51 mark he talks about the area near and dear to my heart – Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and specifically Jelastic in which I work. Check it out and see if you share Serguei’s views on where the industry is going:

Click to watch the recording on YouTube

 

I’ve been recently involved helping a new European start-up just launched a new Platform-as-a-Service capable of running and automatically scaling any Java application. Here’s a quick write-up on why I think Jelastic is really onto something, a service to try and a company to watch.

Say, you’ve got a great Java application which you want to put on the internet and make it available to the world. Believe it or not, up until today, what sounds like a trivial task simply could not be done. You effectively had to choose between lack of scalability, necessity to manually set up and maintain the whole software stack, requirement to re-write your code to conform to a particular framework (and get locked into it thereafter), or a combination of the above.

Traditional hosting simply leased you a server and had you set it up including the web server and Java stack – effectively making you spend hours and hours doing pure operational work instead of producing next biggest and coolest services. And obviously getting you confined to whatever servers you rented – so when you need to scale up due to being mentioned on Slashdot you were out of luck.

First generation Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds (IaaS) like Amazon or Rackspace made server provisioning a simple programmatic call. This made scalability a little easier (at least you did not have to wait days or weeks to get more or less servers). However, all they did was effectively give you a bunch of (often overpriced) virtual machines leaving it to you to set them up, configure them, patch them. To make things worse, scalability was not free either. For these providers, more resources meant more virtual machines. Which in turn meant, that your application had to be designed to be able to run on multiple machines in parallel, and most likely using storage and instance coordination mechanisms specific to this platform. Thus, you were almost getting the worst of both worlds: limited scalability, extra operations tasks, high fees, and vendor lock-in.

Early Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions like Google App Engine, Force.com, Windows Azure, and VMware CloudFoundry offered a trade-off of taking away the operational tasks of setting up and managing the virtual machines by requiring you to write your applications specifically for the platform – thus putting you at the maximum lock-in ever.

Jelastic – a new start-up which just launched its beta at Jelastic.com is aiming to learn from predecessors and give you the best of all worlds:

  • Easy to deploy and manage – like earlier PaaS systems, Jelastic automatically sets up, configures and maintains the software stack that you need (such as Tomcat server, MySQL database, load balancer, static content cache, and so on) – all you need is add your application on top.
  • Runs any Java application – with Jelastic there are no requirements to specifically adapt your code, simply upload the package and if it runs, for example, on standard Tomcat server (or for that matter JBoss, GlassFish, or Jetty) with MySQL (MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, CouchDB) – it will run in Jelastic as is. This means painless deployments, zero learning curve, and most importantly zero platform lock in.
  • Automated scaling – most amazingly, Jelastic manages to scale your application up and down depending on the load it gets. As your application becomes popular and its use intensifies, Jelastic transparently gives it more memory and processing power.

See this quick video with Jelastic overview:

And a set of videos demonstrating the actual Java application deployment, autoscaling, and URL mapping.

Or even better, take your application and give it a try at Jelastic.com.


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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer Jelastic or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2008-2012 Dmitry Sotnikov

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