ActiveState Launches Amazon EC2 Cloud for Python Developers

ActiveState's new Amazon-based cloud service enables Python developers to build and deploy secure enterprise cloud applications.

ActiveState has announced it is delivering its ActivePython Community and Business Editions of its Python development environment as part of a pre-built Python-centric AMI (Amazon Machine Image) for the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

ActiveState, which focuses on dynamic languages and offers solutions for Perl, Python and TCL (Tool Command Language), said its new AMI is enterprise-ready and provides a full LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl) stack, including Ubuntu's Linux operating system, Apache Web Server and MySQL plus Python packages necessary to developing and deploying cloud applications quickly and securely. It is aimed at providing an easy on-ramp to Amazon EC2 for Python development.

In some respects this new ActiveState offering is a competitor to Google App Engine, which supports both Python and Java development in a cloud environment. However, ActiveState officials said their solution is more robust than what Google provides with its App Engine, despite recent expansions to the platform with Google App Engine 1.4.

"The ActivePython Amazon EC2 AMI does not directly compete with Google App Engine," Diane Mueller, director of enterprise product management at ActiveState, told eWEEK. "It's an apples-to-oranges comparison. Applications that thrive on the Google App Engine platform are generally those that take limited transaction cycles to complete and conform to Google's fixed quota system for daily limits and maximum rates of data transfers, API calls and transformations. Once you've hit these resource maximums that Google sets to ensure the integrity of their shared architecture's boundaries, then you have to 'ask' for permission to 'pay' for more cycles. Heavier computing cycles required by enterprise or financial apps need their own dedicated servers. This is exactly what the ActivePython Amazon EC2 AMI's infrastructure provides, along with the build scripts to scale your environments at your own discretion. With the ActivePython and Amazon EC2 combination, you have complete control of your computing resources, and you're running your Python applications on Amazon's proven computing environment."

The new AMI from ActiveState featuring ActivePython Business Edition provides access to Python database packages for Postgres, Oracle, SQLite and MS SQL in the Amazon EC2 environment. It also provides key cryptography packages (M2Crypto) for security and critical Python packages for financial and scientific computing (Numpy, Scipy) applications. The ActivePython AMI also enables companies to get their own private, secure AMI complete with scripts to easily deploy more stacks as their deployments grow. ActiveState has built and tested all components of the stack ensuring seamless integration.

"We're excited to become an Amazon Solutions Provider providing the first ActiveState-supported, tested, private and secure Python-centric AMI to the market," Mueller said. "It enables faster development and deployment of cloud-based applications and saves development time with a ready-to-run, trusted ActivePython stack. Enterprises can go to market faster and more securely with all the components and packages needed to enable enterprise-grade security and database connectivity."

AMI with ActivePython includes:

  • Linux: Basic 64-bit Ubuntu 10.04 AMI 1.0-available for Amazon's t1.micro, m1.large, m1.xlarge, m2.2xlarge, m2.4xlarge, and c1.xlarge instance sizes
  • MySQL (5.1) alternate database
  • SQLite3 alternate database
  • Apache (2.2.16) default Web server
  • modwsgI_apache (3.3.7)
  • gunicorn alternate Web server

Meanwhile, the ActivePython 2.6.6 Community Edition, which includes Python packages, features: Customizable AMI build scripts to quickly deploy multiple AMI instances, MySQL_python (1.2.3), Django 1.2.3, Memcached, Nginx (0.8.53), virtualenv (1.5.1) and virtualenvwrapper, PyCrypto, Fabric (0.9.2), and runit 2.0.0.

The ActivePython 2.6.6 Business Edition preview includes: a license to deploy cloud applications to users who are external to the licensee's company; installation, usage, configuration, and diagnosis support for ActivePython components; Python packages for Postgres (psycopg2), Oracle (cx_Oracle), ODBC (pyodbc), Microsoft SQL Server (pymssql); a security cryptography Python package: M2Crypto; and financial and scientific computing Python packages: Numpy, Scipy, matplotlib.

ActiveState said the ActivePython AMI also includes a sample Django Web application; links to PyPM, the Python Package Manager index to find required Python packages easily; and tutorials and documentation to learn how to develop and deploy quickly.

The AMI with ActivePython Community Edition is free if using cloud applications for internal company use, ActiveState said. The AMI with ActivePython Business Edition is $999/server/year and is available immediately. For more information, go to: