CohesiveFT Offers On-Demand Virtualization Platform

The company is giving developers a Dell-like Web services-application stack choice for the cloud.

With Amazon recently announcing enhancements to its Web services offerings for developers, Cohesive Flexible Technologies is upgrading its on-demand virtualization platform based on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud.

CohesiveFT in February announced open registration for its Elastic Server On-Demand (ESOD) Community Edition, which had been in private beta since July 2007. The free Community Edition has key new capabilities including the ability for users to upload their own software packages and applications for use in assembling, deploying and managing virtual application stacks.

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Since the announcement of ESOD, CohesiveFT brought online "an 'automatic guest' system that allows anyone who comes to to build and download three virtual machine servers (Elastic Servers) without registering," said Patrick Kerpan, co-founder and chief technology officer of CohesiveFT. "If they want, they can then claim their account to keep access to the servers they have built."

Kerpan was formerly CTO at Borland Software.

"ESOD Community Edition is a free Internet platform for independent developers and individual enterprise developers to take advantage of virtualization and cloud computing utilities like Amazon's EC2," Kerpan said. "It allows them to take their application stack -recipes,' capture them and reproduce them as virtual servers automatically with both speed and quality."

CohesiveFT's platform allows customers to build and manage applications for virtualized infrastructure, the company said. Using a build-to-order process, customers assemble a downloadable, cloud-deployable application containers in the virtualization format of their choice, Kerpan said.

CohesiveFT's virtualized application stacks can be deployed to all major virtualization formats, including the Amazon Cloud (EC2), are given a unique encapsulated identity and Media Access Control (MAC) address, and are injected with management and integration services, Kerpan said.

He said significant customer demand led to the release of the build-your-own-components' capability. "The most requested feature from our private beta was, -How do we make our own code elastic?'" he said.

In a report on CohesiveFT's solution, analyst Patricia Seybold with the Patricia Seybold Group, said CohesiveFT's model is similar to Dell's pitch to users of "configuring your own computer.

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"You typically start with the kind of application stack you want to configure," Seybold said. "In the application stack/middleware world, you typically start with the software components you care about the most. If you plan to write your application [or have written your application] using Ruby on Rails, you'd start with Ruby; if you are designing a Service-Oriented Architecture for loosely coupled Web Services, you'd probably start with SOA Parts. If you need to deploy real-time financial applications, you'd know that you'll need real-time messaging that conforms to trading systems standards, so you'd start with AMQP [a real-time message broker for financial trading applications]."

CohesiveFT CEO Craig Heimark said the company's ESOD offering is a first. "The ability to allow the independent developer community to jump into cloud-computing in this way is an important dimension of our overall service offerings," Heimark said in a statement.

Timothy O'Brien, an independent consultant and technical author in Evanston, Ill., said the boundary between operations and development becomes a frequent point of contention and mistrust.

"'Ops' doesn't have the bandwidth to keep up with fast-moving frameworks like [Ruby on] Rails or the latest best practices with respect to Java Message Service and setting up ActiveMQ," O'Brien said. "'Dev' doesn't have the overall awareness of things like monitoring and management. -Devs' are usually not schooled to think about the underlying operating system, so they frequently reinvent the wheel with respect to things like monitoring and management. The intersection of dev and ops is the inefficiency in today's IT department."

What Cohesive provides "is a production network out of the box already compatible with virtualization, etc.," he said. "Using something like the Elastic server, you can just create a made-to-order, 10-machine production network that uses all the latest technologies without having to go through a huge learning process for your staff. Cohesive works with companies like MuleSource, SpringSource and Red Hat to provide 'certified' configurations."

In her report, Seybold said: "What CohesiveFT has built, along with a useful software factory for configuring and creating virtual computing platforms, is a vibrant ecosystem comprised of some of the smartest architects on the planet."