Platform-as-a-service providers, such as Salesforce.com, Amazon.com and Google, offer developers a means of coding their applications and allowing a provider in the cloud to not only handle the details of hosting and scaling these works, but make them available for sale as well.
Etelos is a PAAS provider with a familiar twist. Where other frameworks require developers to code parts of their applications to work with the cloud service in question, Etelos' development environments enable software makers to bring their standard LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl)-type applications to the cloud with little or no modification required.
What sets Etelos apart from a traditional LAMP hosting service, such as DreamHost, are the services that the firm wraps around LAMP for selling, managing licensing and accounting for scalability of Web applications. In addition, Etelos has some interesting services in the works (which I did not test) for sharing data between separate applications and for enabling applications to run offline.
Based on the time I spent with Etelos' platform, I can suggest that companies or departments seeking no-hassle, flexible hosting of common open-source or built-in-house Web applications take a closer look at what Etelos has to offer.
Taking Etelos for a spin
As a means of demonstrating its platform, Etelos sells on-demand versions of a few popular open-source Web applications, including MediaWiki, WordPress and Sugar CRM community edition. I opted to take Etelos' MediaWiki offering for a spin to get a feel for the platform and perhaps move a MediaWiki instance I currently host in our lab out into the cloud.
Etelos' MediaWiki to Go, which is priced at $4.95 per month and includes 5GB of storage (additional storage costs 34 cents per gigabyte per month), was as easy to set up as its "on-demand" label would suggest. I created a user account at Etelos' Web site and selected the MediaWiki service from the firm's applications marketplace, and within a couple of minutes I received a welcome message in my e-mail with my new wiki site's address and log-on information.