DotCloud: The Cloud's New Developer Hotshot?

What does the winner of Structure 2011's startup competition have that Google App Engine,, and Heroku don't?
DotCloud is removing that weight by setting the environment as x86 infrastructure as a service in Amazon Web Services' EC2. It then builds a set of APIs that function on its servers there to connect to needed services. The developer doesn't need to know anything about Cassandra or MongoDB in order to get big data handling resources, Hykes said.

DotCloud can do this more efficiently than individual developers by assembling a staff with expertise in open source code and APIs. For five years, Patrick McGovern, VP of marketing, was a director of and managed the popular host site for 92,000 open source projects. One of its staff members is the leading developer of a frequently used Perl stack, Hykes added.

It currently uses EC2 as its deployment site, but Hykes said he is testing the platform to run in other clouds as well.

"Everyone here is obsessed with solving the problem of deploying workloads in the cloud," he said.

DotCloud has come along at the right time to take advantage of open source software that has built cloud concepts into its operation. For example, it uses MongoDB's capability to create triplicate data sets on different servers as its safeguard against server failure under any one set. The DotCloud Build File will use MongoDB to guarantee availability of an application's data, without needing to build planned server failover or other data survival mechanisms into its deployment environment.

The DotCloud handles scaling and high availability issues on behalf of the developer. "High availability is completely baked in ... It's awesome. There's never been a better time to be a developer," said Hykes during his LaunchPad appearance.

DotCloud launched its public beta June 22. It is free for developers to use, with supported subscriptions available at $99 for a professional version; enterprise subscriptions with many applications supported may be negotiated on an annual basis and would start at $10,000 or higher.

DotCloud has $10 million in venture capital funding from Benchmark Capital and Trinity Ventures. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, recently became a member of its board of directors. The firm was founded in San Francisco last year by Hykes and Sebastien Pahl.

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