Appistry Launches Grid Program for Startups

The software maker's "Right From the Start" initiative aims to help companies scale their applications to grid environments.

WASHINGTON—Appistry has announced the launch of a new program to help grid-enable startup companies that wish to quickly scale their applications.

At the GridWorld 2006 conference here on Sept. 12, St. Louis-based Appistry announced its "Right From the Start" program, which is aimed at helping startups and emerging growth organizations to accelerate the development and delivery of scalable, reliable and cost-effective applications using the Appistry EAF (Enterprise Application Fabric) solution, said Sam Charrington, Appistrys vice president of product management and marketing.

Appistry EAF is software for deploying large-scale, time-critical applications across a virtualized "grid" of commodity-grade computers, Charrington said.

Appistrys Right From the Start program includes software and services designed to help companies scale on relatively modest budgets. Elements of the program include: Right From the Start licensing, which provides no-cost, production-use licenses for Appistry EAF; support contacts and expert-level architecture assistance; exclusive access to a variety of resources; and marketing collaboration and support, company officials said.

DreamType, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Clearent, of St. Louis, are two early adopters of the Appistry Right From the Start program. DreamType is a marketing services company that enables customers to create and manage personalized multichannel marketing campaigns through a Web-based interface. Clearent is a payment processing startup whose application combines a transaction processing engine with a next-generation Web 2.0 user interface, Charrington said. Both companies are using Appistry EAF to deploy their applications across a virtualized grid, he said.

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Opting for commodity hardware over big iron is a competitive advantage for Clearent in the payment processing industry, and Appistry helps the company scale its applications, Charrington said.

"A common perception in our industry is that you need to start with a certain scale to be effective," said Dan Geraty, president and chief executive officer of Clearent, in a statement. "Our belief is that with the Appistry fabric in place, we are able to shatter these barriers and achieve competitive performance and economics with much smaller volumes."

DreamType employs a CPU-intensive application to deliver a service for marketers that enables them to produce highly effective marketing campaigns for e-mail, print and the Web, Charrington said.

"Until finding Appistry we thought wed need to wait to tackle the scalability problem," said Brian Gullette, president of DreamType, in a statement. "I assumed it would require IT consulting, expensive hardware and software, setting up and hosting load-balanced servers, stress-testing, etc. But the Appistry solution was a way for us to leapfrog all this."

Indeed, Gullette said he estimates that Appistry EAF saved DreamType nearly two years in development and deployment time and the associated costs. "On top of that, we expect to reduce operating costs to half of what theyd be had we tried to scale our apps out using the usual techniques," he said.

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Charrington said Appistry EAF supports industry-standard computing technologies such as Java, C/C++ and Microsoft .Net. The technology runs on Microsoft Windows and Linux and allows customers to leverage commodity hardware including the x86 platform, he said.

"You can leverage commodity infrastructures," Charrington said, noting that the Appistry EAF middleware solution is an environment "that provides all the ilities that businesses look for in their mission-critical applications," including reliability, scalability and maintainability.

Meanwhile, because Appistry supports .Net and its affiliated languages, "we make it easy to scale out dynamic languages"—particularly the ones that .Net supports—including the IronPython language, which recently reached its 1.0 release, Charrington said. Appistry also supports PHP on the .Net platform through the Phalanger project, which is an effort to deliver an implementation of PHP on .Net.

Because Appistry helps to grid-enable .Net applications, it might appear to some to be a competitor to Digipede Technologies, which provides a similar type of service. But Charrington said he does not view the companies as direct competitors.

"Our goal is to help customers reliably build and scale applications using components they can buy at Best Buy or Circuit City," Charrington said. "A big part of what we focus on is the commodity infrastructure. People are trying to get more stuff done with commodity infrastructure," he said. "Another trend for us is this notion of Google-ization," he added.

"Startups today need every competitive advantage they can get," said Appistry President and CEO Kevin Haar, in a statement. "Appistry is well positioned to help startups who aim to be the next Google, Amazon or MySpace of their field."

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