Joyent Expands Windows Capabilities in Cloud Platform

Joyent added Windows and Linux virtual machines to its SmartMachines cloud environment to allow businesses to migrate Windows-based applications to the cloud.

Joyent unveiled new Windows and Linux cloud hosting capabilities that strengthen its line of products for building and hosting Web applications, the cloud computing provider said on Oct. 19.

Joyent's line of virtualized servers for businesses power large-scale Websites and applications, reminiscent of Amazon EC2. The new Windows and Linux virtual machines will allow customers running high-volume, high-traffic Web applications on those operating systems to move into Joyent's cloud environment, said Adrian Ludwig, vice president of marketing at Joyent.

"We're seeing an increase in customers in the enterprise space who want to move onto the cloud, but face a formidable obstacle with an existing app built on a Windows or Linux OS," said David Young, Joyent's chief executive, in a statement.

Despite wanting to move to high-scale and stable cloud environment, many businesses, when faced with the prospect of rewriting the legacy applications from scratch, were foregoing moving to Joyent's SmartMachines, said Ludwig. "They couldn't abandon the investment they'd already made in the legacy applications," he said.

Joyent's cloud environment is based on a customized operating system based on an optimized OpenSolaris kernel, Ludwig said. Because of the underlying OpenSolaris layer, many Windows applications, including the ones using proprietary technologies such as .NET and Windows Media, couldn't run on Joyent's SmartMachines platform.

With the newly enhanced platform, Joyent can now support a "seamless migration directly onto the Joyent cloud where they can leverage our exclusive smart computing infrastructure to gain reliable, peak performance at all times," said Young in a statement.

The SmartMachines platform is optimized for Web application development because of its customized SmartOS operating system, said Ludwig. The underlying layer improves CPU speed, reduces network latency and enhances disk and memory performance, while keeping costs low for customers, Ludwig said.

Ludwig said Amazon can't match the performance and stability of SmartMachines because EC2 is running on a "commoditized OS."

Ludwig cited an example of a company that performed real-time video transcoding in the cloud. While processes encoding Windows Media files had to run on Windows machines, other processes such as FTP, uploading or encoding other video formats, could run on other platforms, Ludwig said. The new Windows capabilities allowed the company to move from a Windows/Linux environment to a Windows/SmartOS environment, which reduced the number of machines required while increasing scalability, performance and stability, said Ludwig.

The virtual machines include the Enterprise and Standard editions of Windows Server, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu operating systems. These systems are already rolled out to all its data centers and are available for customers.

Ludwig dismissed concerns that basing the SmartOS on OpenSolaris, which is no longer supported by Oracle after acquiring Sun, might pose problems for SmartMachine's future growth. A number of Sun engineers have left Oracle and joined Joyent, including Bryan Cantrill, one of the three developers behind Sun's DTrace technology, said Ludwig.

There is plenty of original Solaris talent in Joyent, according to Ludwig. Cantrill is responsible for overseeing worldwide development focused on operating systems, including building additional innovation into Joyent's SmartOS and SmartDataCenter.

DTrace is a feature of Solaris and OpenSolaris, which allows developers and administrators to probe the performance and behavior of the operating system as well as applications running in real time; a capability which enterprise users find especially useful.

Joyent provides the infrastructure which powers services such as professional social networking site LinkedIn and game developer Kebab. Joyent also offers a Facebook Developer program for developing and deploying Facebook applications.

Joyent also has Joyent Connector, a suite of collaboration tools for businesses, including e-mail, calendars, address books and file storage. Bingo disk is a Web-based storage service, providing users with up to 100GB of storage.