Cloud service provider offers preconfigured ecommerce solutions for retailers; targets Amazon customers.
Joyent has what it considers market-leading infrastructure running under its SmartOS operating system (a descendent of Solaris). But to date, the company has left it to customers to cobble together their own server, storage, and networking setup.
Because Joyent noticed common problems and patterns among its retail users, the company has developed a set of ecommerce templates: Online retailers select their type of ecommerce service, and Joyent will spin up the requisite resources. The Joyent eCommerce Solutions set will offer any company that's interested in online commerce a way to quickly initiate the systems it needs for compute, storage, networking, and data analytics.
Joyent launched its Manta big data management service in June. It invokes one of the main components of Hadoop -- the MapReduce system -- to distribute data over a cluster of servers and perform analytics on the data at a point close to its storage location. Unlike most Hadoop operations, the Manta system also serves as a long-term storage system, keeping data close to compute power for its next round of analysis.
"Retailers will be able to record and save many more facts about their business [than they were able to in predecessor, relational database systems]," said Bryan Cantrill, senior VP of engineering, in an interview.
One legitimate criticism of Joyent, according to Cantrill, is that it has assembled high-performance, highly reliable infrastructure but left it to customers to figure out how to fit the pieces together for ecommerce purposes. Joyent is a little different from some public cloud providers because it is a big contributor to the Node.js language project and uses Node.js heavily in its own operations. Nevertheless, many potential ecommerce customers have budding ecommerce systems in Java and would like help from their infrastructure supplier in configuring and managing an ecommerce set of servers.
Cantrill could spot customers trying different combinations of application servers, web servers, database servers, and big data systems. "You want to optimize your infrastructure offering against that behavior," he noted.
Joyent's ecommerce system will, among other things, invoke the Manta Storage Service to act a central repository for server logs and analyze the activity going on at the server, based on the log file data and in near real time. That gives a retailer a chance to spot trends in customer activity and take steps that capitalize on them, Cantrill said.
The Manta storage also gives retailers a convenient place to store video and images and allows processes such as image cropping and video editing to occur close to where content is stored.
"Retail is a very important segment of public and private cloud business," Cantrill pointed out. "But retailers are finding Amazon -- as their cloud provider -- is also their competitor. They don't want their supplier to compete with them.
"Joyent is never going to sell raincoats," Cantrill noted, "but it will be happy to take on any Amazon customers who are tired of seeing competition coming from a service they pay to host their ecommerce servers."
Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek, having joined the publication in 2003. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld, and former technology editor of Interactive Week.
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