When Larry Ellison trashes cloud computing, the best response will be to put him
out of work. You might call this crazy but in the words of Robert X. Cringely,
it is just doable. He suggests that cloud computing can get back at Larry by
saying “No Database”.
We're entering the age of cloud computing, remember? And clouds, it turns
out, don't like databases, at least not as they have traditionally been
This fact came out in my EmTech panel and all the experts onstage with me
nodded sagely as my mind reeled. No database?
Bob Cringley, then, goes on to talk about an exciting cloud vendor in the
town called Appistry.
Appistry has been under my radar for quite some time. Robert Cringley’s article
and the recent partnership announcement by Appistry with GoGrid and Skytap reminded me that I should
talk about this company in this space.
Let me talk briefly about the recent industry news from Appistry before
discussing about the company. Appistry has partnered with GoGrid to offer their
pre configured EAF community edition to GoGrid customers so that they can, in
the words of GoGrid CEO John Keagy, better manage the elastic scalability of the
GoGrid Cloud. Their partnership with Skytap adds the Appistry Enterprise
Application Fabric (EAF) as a pre-configured virtual machine in their library so
that customers can, in the words of Skytap’s CEO Scott Roza, use the powerful
new capabilities to rapidly develop, test and deploy applications designed to be
highly scalable and resilient.
At the core of Appistry’s plan to put Larry Ellison out of work is their
product called Enterprise Application Fabric (EAF). Instead of getting
deep into the technical details, I would like to offer a soft description of
what Appistry EAF does. EAF takes in a collection of commodity servers and
offers it as a single virtualized resource providing scaling, reliability and
easy management. Robert Cringley offers a better way to visualize this with the
Google example. In a simplistic way, we can describe Google’s infrastructure as
a collection of commodity hardware acting as if it were a single machine holding
the content of the entire internet in its memory at once. Depending on the need,
more and more commodity hardware are added resulting in the increased power of
the single “Google Computer”. Appistry’s EAF does a similar thing by
dramatically simplifying the development and deployment of scalable applications
using C++, Java, Spring or .NET. It is also easy to deploy legacy apps or
external web services. In fact, a developer using Eclipse or Visual Studio can
easily deploy the apps without worrying about scalability. It will come handy for enterprises who want Google like environment but not the scale of Google. You can find the
technical details about how EAF utilizes the commodity servers to offer a
computing fabric for easy scalability here.
In this era of Green Computing efforts, Appistry’s virtualized applications
offers tremendous savings in the cost of power consumption. In fact, Green
Computing is the hallmark of the whole cloud computing idea.
Appistry and other cloud vendors cut costs by using the simple principle that
only the CPUs needed to take care of the load should be used at any moment of
time. A virtualized environment assists well in this principle.
Appistry offers a community edition at no cost to users along with its
enterprise offering. The community edition is free for 5 servers (or 10 CPUs)
and is offered using a terminology I detest. They call it the open distribution
model and claim that it takes advantage of the best of open source world and
commercial world. Let me cut the crap here on this. EAF community edition is not
open source. It is a free commercial product offered using the term “open” with
an idea to jump start a community around the product. Having said that, the
community edition allows small and medium companies to have a mini Google kind
of infrastructure at zero cost. It also helps startups and enterprises to test
their applications before deploying it in a production environment.
Appistry will turn out to be a great enabler of cloud computing in the
enterprise environments. They are already serving the needs of enterprise
customers like Fedex, GeoEye, etc. Their collaboration with cloud vendors will
help more and more companies use cloud computing for their needs. Appistry’s EAF
is also a perfect solution for scientific studies like drug discovery. It really
has the potential to put Larry Ellison out of work.