ActiveGrid Launches Version 1.0 Of Grid Application Server

Tools will help developers build applications without resorting to J2EE or Microsoft .Net.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

August 4, 2005

3 Min Read

ActiveGrid Inc. this week released the 1.0 version of its open-source grid application server and application-building tools. Both are meant to help companies rapidly build Web applications that encompass user interactions and transactions and can rapidly scale to handle changing levels of Internet traffic.

Instead of designing a Web application for a given two-way or four-way server, the Lamp Application Server 1.0 is designed to run on a cluster of machines that can be expanded as necessary, ActiveGrid CEO Peter Yared says. The 1.0 version performs application load balancing across the cluster.

ActiveGrid, which has received $13 million in venture-capital funding, was founded to design software that converts any set of Intel-processor machines into a grid, instead of building custom software for grid management, Yared says.

Lamp is the open-source code stack that includes compatible versions of Linux, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database, and scripting languages Perl, Python, and PHP.

ActiveGrid is designed to work with lighter-weight technologies, such as Perl, Python, and PHP, and Web services built using the Web Services Description Language and Simple Object Access Protocol standards. Use of those technologies should allow a company to develop most of a transactional application without resorting to Java 2 Enterprise Edition or Microsoft .Net's C#, Yared says.

The Lamp Application Server is "a context-driven environment" that makes decisions on how application services should be delivered based on the type of browser submitting the call and the type of client on which the browser is running, Yared says. The server is open-source code and available for free download. An annual maintenance and support contract is priced at $1,000.

An identity-management feature will be added to a commercial version of the Lamp Application Server due out in the fourth quarter. The commercial version also will include session management; a low-level employee and a manager making the same request would receive different responses from the server, he says.

Declarative caching also will be added to the commercial version. That will allow a system administrator to tell the application server to cache or store in active system memory for five days the frequently sought pages of an online catalogue. Such caching speeds performance as additional users seek the same pages, because they can be served without rebuilding them from data in the database. Administrators will be able to give caching instructions to the application server as it runs.

The ActiveGrid Application Builder is a rapid application-development environment based on graphical editors and use of PHP, Perl, and Python to build Web applications. It supports use of XML Schema for defining data within a document, Business Process Execution Language for building business processes as Web services, XPath to retrieve data from XML documents, and WSDL, Yared says.

Early open-source versions of the application server and the application-development environment were released in April. The commercial version of the application server will sell for $3,000.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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