WSO2 made an intriguing announcement this week: It's unveiled the first open source cloud platform.
For some reason, I always have to remind myself that WSO2 is NOT a standards body, but an open source company that offers a middleware stack (ESB, registry, data services server, Web services application server, etc.).
Once I got that straightened out, I couldn't help but think an open source PaaS is a darn good idea. As a tech journalist, I probably shouldn't say that, but as a blogger - what the heck.
Paul Fremantle, the CTO of WSO2, obviously thinks so, too, and he made a good argument for why in a blog post written shortly before the announcement. Piggy-backing off a recent discussion about the portability and integration problems inherent in platform-as-a-service, Fremantle suggested an open source solution makes perfect sense in this space because it answers portability issues between private and public PaaS and allows you to use standard enterprise architecture in PaaS:
So my contention is this: you need a PaaS that supports the same core services that a modern Enterprise architecture has: ESB, BPMS, Authentication/Authorization, Portal, Data, Cache, etc. And you need a PaaS that works inside your organization as well as in a public Cloud. And if you really don't want any lock-in.... hadn't that PaaS better be Open Source as well?
What's really great about this solution, as Fremantle points out, is that you can use it for that hybrid cloud, which is basically a cloud designed to be used on-premise and in the cloud. In the comments to Fremantle's post, F5 blogger and developer Lori MacVittie, who really started this discussion with her post on PaaS/IaaS portability, explains why she believes hybrid clouds will become the preferred option:
It seems application infrastructure and network infrastructure suffer the same lack of service offerings in PaaS and IaaS respectively. One of the reasons I believe hybrid cloud models will dominate is precisely because of the lack of services. IT has come to rely upon both application and network infrastructure as part of the application and the inability to duplicate that in an off-premise cloud is certainly going to be a road bump in the cloud adoption cycle.
InfoWorld has a nice summary of the new platform, called WSO2 Stratos. It's the same information you'll find in the press release, but shorter and easier to read.
WSO2 is also offering a support program -- CloudStart -- which, as the name suggests, will companies get started in the cloud. For $17,500, WSO2 will loan you an engineering team for one week to help you build either a lightweight deployment or proof of concept with WSO2 Stratus, either in the cloud or on-premise. And if you'd like a look at the interface for WSO2 Stratus Manager, check out quality assurance pro Charitha Kankanamge's recent post.
Several partners are already signed on to run WSO2 Stratus on the cloud, including Amazon Web Services, Canonical and VMWare. Before investing in any cloud computing services, you'll want to ensure you've established cloud computing policies, of course.
As a side note, if you're still finding all this SaaS/cloud/PaaS/IaaS stuff confusing, you're not alone. Check out MacVittie's recent post addressing misconceptions about the cloud.