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10/20/2013
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PaasLane Speeds Cloud App Migrations

Cloud Technology Partners launches system that simplifies migrating legacy applications into the generic cloud, says Amazon version is on the way.

Cloud Technology Partners is experienced at migrating enterprise applications into the cloud. It's in talks to move 5,000 applications for one company and 9,000 for another. It's also decided that the time is right to make the process and engine behind its application migration services into a software product.

The product, PaaSLane, a play on platform-as-a-service and passing lane, enters public beta as software-as-a-service Tuesday. PaaSLane performs a source-code scan on Java and .Net applications through static code analysis. The rules engine looks at the results and compares them to the target cloud service's probable environment. Its (current) 170 code rules can detect incompatibilities, missing patches, unsuitable versions of operating systems and dozens of other problem areas.

When used with a large library of applications, it can prioritize those most ready for migration to the cloud and those that need the most premigration work. The system works for "generic cloud" based on commodity x86 servers, said John Treadway, senior VP of software at Cloud Technology Partners, rather than having Google, Microsoft or Rackspace versions. However, the company will demonstrate an Amazon-specific version of PaasLane at Amazon's Re:Invent Conference next month in Las Vegas.

As the code scan and analysis engine gets more use, it will get more sophisticated. "I wouldn't be surprised to see it employ 1,000 rules" as it picks up wider use, said Treadway. Enterprise software engineers and architects may customize an on-premises version of PaaSLane with their own rules.

[ Want to learn more about PaaS's increasing role? See OpenStack Has Amazon-Like Aura. ]

The automated system works fast, said Treadway. He said users can scan and analyze a million lines of code in 20 minutes, a task that would take a team of technically skilled humans "weeks or months." As it identifies migration problems in the code, it pinpoints them and recommends remedies.

In addition to checking for problems and incompatibilities, PaaSLane is checking for more pedestrian issues, such as source-code stability, performance and security. The system can perform parallel scans and analyze the results on multiple applications at a time.

PaaSLane can also be used to simplify deployment decisions as application software moves into the cloud. It wouldn't be unusual for a company with 5,000 applications to use five different application servers. "The enterprise might want to reduce the number down to [Oracle's] WebLogic and Apache Tomcat," Treadway noted in an interview. PaaSLane can advise an enterprise on what changes are needed in applications to make that reduction.

In addition, it can be configured to tell its users whether services in the cloud may be substituted for ones currently embedded in the application. Most applications include a messaging service, but would be capable of tapping one available in the cloud as well, such as Amazon's Simple Queue or Simple Notification Services.

"More of our customers are telling us, 'Maybe I shouldn't be in the business of spinning up my own middleware in the cloud," said Treadway.

PaaSLane is now available as an on-premises product as well as SaaS. The SaaS system is available for free use until the service comes out of its public beta test. The on-premises edition is available for free use through the end of 2013, Treadway said.

Cloud Technology Partners was founded in 2010 in Boston by CEO Chris Greendale, a former VP of marketing at Oracle. He founded Cambridge Technology Partners in 1991.

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