Private, Cloud Foundry-based PaaS ActiveState Stackato has hit version 2.0, bringing virtual cluster management and better containerization. But the really notable thing in this new release is that it adds support for .NET applications – demonstrating that the market is definitely starting to respond to Microsoft’s recent cloud moves.
The .NET support is handled via an integration with Tier3’s Iron Foundry, a fork of VMware Cloud Foundry designed to handle .NET applications. Stackato’s built-in configuration management tool links with Iron Foundry, according to the press release, handling .NET within a Stackato cloud. ActiveState Stackato already supports Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, Node.JS, Clojure, Scala, Erlang and other popular programming languages.
The other new features I mentioned include the better containerization, where Stackato boasts that a cloud app can retain scale and capacity while heightening security – with an end result of better performance for less virtual real estate, with multiple containers per VM. And the visual cluster administration is designed to make it easier for DevOps to manage cloud applications.
In a blog entry, CloudAve analyst Ben Kepes writes that he sees the major value of ActiveState Stackato being in its flexibility: Flexibility to deploy behind the firewall on the majority of cloud infrastructure stacks, flexibility between programming languages, and flexibility to choose the hypervisor.
But at the same time, Kepes expresses a certain amount of skepticism, given the fact that VMware could likely crush the Cloud Foundry ecosystem as easily as it’s built it, if it so chose. But overall, it seems that the market is really demanding platform-as-a-service, as the application layer-centric viewpoint on the cloud only becomes more prominent. It’s an especially appealing approach to the cloud when developers are looking to deploy applications across multiple cloud providers.
I also think it’s definitely notable that .NET cloud application compatibility is now desirable in the cloud: Microsoft has spent a lot of time and effort making Microsoft Windows Azure and Microsoft Windows System Center appealing to the cloud developer market, and while ActiveState can’t brag that Stackato has the same kind of integration as AppFog or Apprenda, this is definitely a sign that PaaS vendors are rising to meet a demand for Microsoft ecosystem compatibility.