CloudFoundry and PaaS
Recently VMware announced Cloud Foundry, an open PaaS. It works quite like Heroku but has the possibility to host other frameworks than Rails, Sinatra and Logo. Frameworks like Django, Node.js are some that exists in Cloud Foundry currently. VMware News Release states:
"VMware Delivers Cloud Foundry, The Industry’s First Open PaaS"
I think the best part is that the project is Open Source. It also means that developers can add their specific plattform to the PaaS (like PHP), which will make it really useful. Another good thing is that hosting companies are able to install Cloud Foundry without paying a single dime. Modifications can also be made to build custom extensions to suite the company.
There are also Services, which currently are databases (Redis, MongoDB and MySQL). These can be provisioned and used within the CLI. The idea of this is quite nice, when the developer needs a service he just provisions it and it starts up with zero configuration. The simplist in me loves this kind of abstraction. There is one word for this, awesome.
I have not tried the PaaS to the fully, just checked it out. For now I think it is great. Cloud Foundry uses a CLI which can be installed from a Ruby Gem. It does everything I want. I can change password, add services, add applications and more.
gem install vmc
What is my verdict? I think this is a quite nice idea and so far neat executed. The more organizations that adopt the Cloud Foundry plattform, the more it will grow. With some open source spirit it will grow even more. So far it is only in beta and there is a free signup at CloudFoundry.com. Are there any possible downsides? Sure, it could break. But as it is open source I think that it is highly unlikely.
PaaS in general are great for abstraction and software developers has the opportunity to just get things going. Although for more specific things and configuration options I think the use of a VPS is more useful. I think this mostly depends on the user and the scale of the application. Is the application big, well then it would be better to use raw hardware. If it is small, the PaaS fits quite well if no customizations should be done.
I have accually used PaaS for a while with this site and Alley.se and it works well. I do not program that much and the usage is quite low. Blog posts and a few small applications works fine.