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CloudBees' Founder Discusses What's in His PaaS-focused Cloud Stack

March 10, 2011
GigaOm's Ostatic
by Sam Dean

Recently, in conjunction with the rise of cloud computing, OStatic has been doing an interview series focused on the components in cloud software stacks, and how they create unique advantages. Recently, we discussed the cloud stack at myClin, which offers cloud resources that make it easier for physicians and their staffs to participate in clincal trials. Last week, Hanspeter Christ, Deputy Process Manager of the Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure (FSDI) for Swisstopo—Switzerland’s federal office of topography—caught up with us to discuss Swisstopo’s cloud stack. The series began with our conversation with PHP Fog founder Lucas Carlson, where he provided many insights into a smart cloud stack.

In our latest installment in this series, we caught up with Sacha Labourey (shown), CEO and founder of CloudBees, which offers cloud platform tools and resources for Java-focused developers—a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) player in the cloud. CloudBees’ fully integrated development infrastructure lets developers customize their cloud apps, and Sacha discussed what’s in the CloudBees platform with us here.

What kinds of cloud-focused tools and services does your platform offer?

The CloudBees Platform is a complete development-to-deployment Platform as a Service (PaaS). We have two services: DEV@cloud and RUN@cloud. DEV@cloud provides a fully integrated development infrastructure, with a centerpiece being the continuous integration server Hudson/Jenkins, while RUN@cloud provides the ‘application server’ in the cloud. The CloudBees Platform gives developers everything they need to quickly and easily develop and deploy applications in the cloud—without having to purchase, configure and maintain hardware, and without having to program applications for a specific underlying infrastructure service (IaaS).

What technologies, including open source tech, do you use in your platform?

The DEV@cloud service is comprised of:

Continuous Integration - Jenkins/Hudson
Configuration Management - Chef
Web Container - Tomcat
HTTP routing and load-balancing - Nginx
Operating System - Linux
Cloud Infrastructure: Amazon EC2, S3
Repository Hosting - Git, SVN, Apace httpd
Repository Management - Ruby/Rails, Apache

The RUN@cloud service leverages a range of technologies to provide a fully functional Java Platform as a Service, including:

Java Web Application Containers - Apache Tomcat
HTTP routing and load-balancing - Nginx
Relation database - MySQL
AMQP Messaging - RabbitMQ
Web UI - GWT
Open ID - single-sign-on
Backend languages - Python, Erlang, Java, Scala
Cloud Infrastructure: Amazon EC2, S3

How do you plan to extend your cloud-focused platform over time?

We will continue to increase the breadth and depth of the platform by introducing more sophisticated services that developers can use to build their applications. In the future, our runtime stack will have wider EE-coverage and access to more resources types including messaging and caching.  The platform will also add support for provisioning resources provided by 3rd party partners so that developers will have access to a much wider variety of services such as NoSQL datastores, full text searching, email, and development services such as static code analysis and web UI testing. Eventually, our platform will expand to include non-Java application environments.  Users will also be able to deploy their applications on a variety of cloud providers as the CloudBees platform is cloud-agnostic.

What kinds of efficiencies do particular parts of your platform offer?

CloudBees’ platform addresses both the development and runtime aspects of the application development cycle.

DEV@cloud offers continuous integration in the cloud. It allows a development team to start a new project with a CI server literally in a few minutes, without any time spent on provisioning machines, plus installation, administration, backups, etc. You get your own private Jenkins master and you get an infinite build/test capacity since DEV@cloud offers slave/executor dynamic provisioning from the cloud and you only pay for the usage time of these executors (1 cent/minute). Beyond Jenkins, DEV will provide many other CI tools, seamlessly integrated on DEV, so that you can recreate your complete CI environment in the cloud (code analysis, web UI testing, etc).

RUN@cloud offers scalability, redundancy and multi-tenancy. Users simply upload their applications and that is it. They don’t have to worry about provisioning and configuring nodes, clusters, load balancers, databases etc. It features a turnkey setup via a self-­‐service web interface. It also offers automation via HTTP-based API, service level monitoring and configurable recovery strategies. RUN@cloud is a constantly monitored environment. RUN@cloud also provides efficiencies that scale *down* the cost of applications using techniques such as hibernation and multi-tenancy so that organizations can more compactly deploy a large number of “under development” applications while only paying for applications that are actually active.

What management tools do you use on your platform?

We use a variety of management tools on the platform including Nagios and Chef, as well as a lot of our own management tools that we have custom built to provide the flexibility we need to deal with an environment like ours where deployed resources are always changing.

CloudBees' Founder Discusses What's in His PaaS-focused Cloud Stack

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