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6/2/2010
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WSO2 Launches Private Cloud Platform

Stratos platform seeks to jump-start a build-out of private clouds, with a backbone of Apache-based products.

WSO2, the Apache-oriented firm specializing in lightweight services infrastructure, is offering a private cloud building platform, Stratos.

WSO2 already offers an enterprise service bus, Web Services Application Server (based on Tomcat), Identity Server, and a services Governance Registry in a middleware suite. They work with a management console, called Carbon 3.0, that marshalls applications for a cluster, and secures operations and assigns them middleware resources. When directed to do so, the Component Manager module of Carbon can provision an application and deploy it with a few point-and-click directions from a console administrator.

To date, the WSO2 open source set was useful for building out applications organized as services. Those applications can be the simplest and lightest representational state transfer (REST) services on the Internet or heavier XML and SOAP-based services. But this middleware suite was always differentiated from IBM's WebSphere and Oracle's WebLogic in that it did not attempt to handle Java 2 Enterprise Edition applications, said WSO2 CEO Sanjiva Weerawarana in an interview.

Carbon and the middleware suite are the core of the Stratos cloud platform as well. But several pieces have been added to make it cloud-enabled. They include portal access to services and middleware resources and the ability to deploy configured applications to a cloud infrastructure, including any cloud that uses APIs compatible with Amazon's EC2.

"Stratos sits on top of infrastructure as a service. We assume the infrastructure is available and give you a programming model that everybody is familiar with in the enterprise," he said.

Weerawarana said the platform is designed to help enterprises construct their own cloud-like infrastructure -- the private cloud -- and deploy applications on it. Once built, it can also be used to move applications between one part of the enterprise and another, or between a private and public cloud.

Applications and middleware can be configured to work on a private cloud run on Eucalyptus Systems APIs, which are compatible with the core Amazon's EC2 APIs. Private clouds built with x86 servers running Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, which includes Eucalyptus APIs, would have an internal configuration highly compatible with the leading public cloud infrastructure provider, Amazon Web Services EC2.

The Stratos platform, in addition to enabling services to run with their middleware, provides the ability to scale an application up or down on the cluster and to allow one server cluster running an application in multi-tenant mode to serve end users in many locations around the company, Weerawarna said.

End users can self-provision workloads, with metering applied and chargeback calculated for the resources used.

At the heart of Stratos is a Cloud Manager server supervising all services and creating a portal where users log in and register, manage their own accounts, and configure the middleware they need. Once a workload is ready, they can launch it at the scale they need through a point-and-click process.

The platform has limitations, reflecting its early age. Invoking Eucalyptus APIs is fine for many basic services. Developers can create an EC2 SimpleDB-like service in the private cloud. But no API exists to match Amazon EC2's Relational Database Service, for example.

WSO2 will help customers establish a Stratos platform on their premises, with one week of onsite engineering team help, for $17,500. The team will work with a customer engineering team to build a lightweight implementation that supplies proof of concept. The onsite engagement is followed by offsite development support, Weerawarana said. WSO2 is calling the service CloudStart.

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