UPDATED 12:34 EDT / FEBRUARY 02 2010

Cloud Startup Makara Hopes To Make Deploying Apps Easy and Fast

One of the biggest issues for developers is moving their apps to the cloud. Many companies like RackSpace (@rackcloud) and Amazon are trying to figure out ways to on-board developers to the cloud.

Today, Makara, a cloud startup, is coming out of stealth mode to target developers to provide a way to seemlessly move thier apps to the cloud and iterate fast with support for Makara provides easy on-boarding and management to the cloud. Makara hopes to leverages virtualization to simplify cloud application management. Makara’s Cloud Application Platform (now available as a developer release) helps developers easily deploy, scale and monitor mission-critical applications in the cloud

Makara allows developers to deploy new or existing web applications to a public or private cloud with no code changes. Makara has integrations built in for all of the components of a web application stack, and developers can choose the versions they need from a catalog. Once the application is deployed, developers have deep introspection to the application runtime and cluster-wide visibility into end user response times end-to-end through the entire stack.

Makara’s Cloud Application Platform supports Java, Flex, PHP, JBoss and Tomcat applications. It runs on Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud, Terremark vCloud Express, VMware ESX, VMware Workstation, VirtualBox and Xen.

New Network and Developer Model – Fast Deployment and Iteration
Iteration is the new way for developers to push out updates in real time based upon user/customer needs. Cloud computing is a very disruptive way to introduce new innovative apps fast. With the “new network” model of fast iteration one of the biggest headaches is management and configuration of deployed apps. Makara hopes to solve this problem.

Makara’s Cloud Application Platform leverages the virtual layer to allow developers to rapidly deploy, scale and monitor applications in cloud environments. The product is freely available today as a developer release at www.Makara.com.

Makara’s CTO Tobias Kunze Briseno writes about his companies new platform:

I am very excited to report that, after months of under-the-radar development, today we are launching the Makara Cloud Application Platform, Developer Beta today. This software enables developers to take their existing Tomcat, JBoss or PHP applications and get them running in minutes on a long list of supported cloud environments: public or private, external or internal.

Best of all, hairy details such as clustering, management, and monitoring are already built-in. Developers today want to deploy, scale and manage their applications without being held up by provisioning and deployment. They want to turn their applications «on», instantly.

Consider deploying a new version of an application to a cluster: instead of messing around with transferring files to a server and then tweaking them to match another environment, developers simply export the application from their working machine and import it in the target environment in the cloud, be it testing, staging, or production.

Think about everything you would normally have to do: set up machines, configure a load balancer, tweak the code to match the environment, deploy across the cluster, and so forth. Do you really want to tweak ant and maven scripts (and that’s if you’re lucky; if you’re unlucky you’re tweaking bash scripts) every time? Did you really want to set those up in the first place? Don’t you wish you could just tell the computer: «deploy my copy to staging and replicate it out to the cluster»? And then have those management  and monitoring goodies built-in, with all their juicy details and a nice display?

When I am developing web applications, this is the platform I would want to work with. In my previous life as an operations director, one of the things we struggled with constantly was rolling out new versions of our application. We’d put together a release, roll it into our staging environment, run tests, then deploy it into production. Each time we moved from environment to environment would take 6 hours…

Debugging things was a very punishing process of diving through 60 servers worth of log files. Of course I could think of architectural ways to make things more stable, of isolating changes in the code, etc, but the problem is when you’re trying to release 50 times a month and there’s constantly pressure to roll out new versions of the application, you just don’t have time to solve these issues from the inside.  

There is yet more undifferentiated heavy lifting lurking in the application stack. There is an operating system to install, maintain, and secure, applications and web servers to configure, logs need to be rotated and consolidated, the machine health needs to be monitored, and so forth. All just in order to run an application. Sure you can start with a template, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our application platform makes this go away. It does all remaining heavy lifting for you.

The face of the Makara Cloud Application Platform is a console that lets you on-board your application, unmodified. And capacity adjustments are incredibly simple – you can scale your cluster by adding nodes or right-size it by dropping running nodes. To see how the application is doing, you’ll then pull up the dashboard and see a number of views of the transactions being served by the cluster now or in the past. You can compare timeframes for easy baselining. The dashboard gives you 360º visibility into the application’s performance and resource usage, including network time to download pages. And when that change request comes in, updating the code and re-deploying the application across the cluster is just a few simple clicks. Holy smokes: All these views are even interconnected, so you’ll see on the dashboard when a change was made to an app, an app was restarted, or a machine added to the cluster.

This is just the first glimpse of our vision of how we see applications to really take off in the cloud, but it’s already a big step, both for us and for the developer, so I’d like to encourage you to give it a try:http://www.makara.com/TryIt. And let us know what you think!   Do you want to be part of the game-changing revolution in how applications are deployed and run that is currently happening in the IT landscape? Then you should sign up for the Open Source project we are about to launch. But this is something I’ll talk about another day…

Here is the company’s video that describes the issues for developers that want to move to the cloud.

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