Yandex, Russia’s most popular search engine, is now offering free Cocaine to developers. But before you go getting too excited, we’re (unfortunately for some) not talking class A drugs here. Despite the name, Cocaine is actually an open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) system that developers can use to build out their own app engines in which they can create custom cloud-hosting apps, similar to the Google App Engine or Heroku.
For those who don’t know Yandex, the company can be best thought of as Russia’s equivalent of Google, and that’s not just because of its dominance of web search in that country. Yandex offers a range of internet services that mirror those of its US rival, such as Yandex.Mail, Yandex.Maps and Yandex.News, among others, and so it comes as no surprise that Yandex is now offering Cocaine.
Interestingly, infrastructure virtualization and app isolation on the Cocaine platform is provided by Docker, an alternative to standard virtualization that behaves much like a virtual machine, with several apps being able to share a single kernel. Docker is proving to be quite fashionable at the moment, having recently been adopted by Red Hat.
Probably the biggest difference between Cocaine and Google’s App Engine is that the latter is designed as a platform for apps that run within Google’s own cloud infrastructure. Cocaine, on the other hand, provides a way for developers to build PaaS on alternative servers.
Cocaine is already being used by Yandex for internal ops, something that might come as a blow to Nimbula, which was previously providing private cloud services for the Russian search giant.
For anyone whose interested in learning about Cocaine, its architecture and its requirements, Yandex has created a special Wiki page here.