At JBoss World 2011, Adrian Cole, an independent developer and consultant who is closely associated with jclouds, talks with SearchSOA.com reporter Jack Vaughan about open source options for platform as a service (PaaS) and other cloud concerns.
What new developments will we see from the new announcements JBoss is making?
JBoss is into Open Source, meaning free software. That's free and open – meaning you can participate in the community. But it's also free as in beer – meaning that you can use it without paying them. Extending that to cloud deployments means they're providing free runtimes. You can actually run your services on the OpenShift platform. So developers can not only develop their applications using a JBoss platform (or PHP or any other supported runtime), but they can actually put them into the cloud without paying. Before they made platform software in a free way but now they're running it in the cloud on your behalf so that's a big new difference for them.
You are involved in Infinispan which is at the heart of the new data grid JBoss is announcing. Now JBoss is talking about bringing that data grid into the JCP process; what do you think about that?
The JCP is where all Java standards come from. Portable Java platforms are possible because there is some sort of a JCP standard for them. The new hooks that are being offered for traditional PaaS offerings – from Google Apps Engine or wherever – are enticing and developers want to use them, but vendors don't always push those hooks into standards, so you can't always guarantee you can safely migrate on and off that platform. As we look at the future of JBoss-style technologies, it makes sense for the vendors to take developer API hooks to the JCP for standardization. One of the tenets of the JBoss ideal is to use standards that exist and create new standards for the needs of new platforms. A huge example there is data grids. The data grid JSR is going to be a way to switch between them and a competitor and provide a choice for the customer.
Could you give us a little bit of the history of jclouds? I know that project is close to your heart.
jClouds helps you deal with a lack of standards. There are a bunch of different providers, and they don't have a standard API right now. Jclouds provides a portability layer that's not standardized yet, but it is the same for various providers. You can use the same code with different cloud providers without knowing all the intricate details of each vendor.
Does jclouds focus primarily on provisioning?
Yeah, jclouds has a few functional areas. We focus on two very popular ones. The first is BlobStore for NoSQL style stores with portability. Second is provisioning service, which lets you create control a group of virtual or physical machines that you can deploy your runtime to. So for example, if you were running a JBoss grid, then you could use jclouds to boot up all the software needed to push that out – and maybe even shut down and grow the cluster as demand requires. So you can build a lot of interesting systems on top.
Read the full transcript from this video below:
Adrian Cole discusses open source Platform as a Service
Jack Vaughan: This is Jack Vaughan for SearchSOA.com. I'm speaking with
Adrian Cole. I'm at the JBoss World. Adrian is an Independent Developer/Consultant
and is heavily involved in JCloud.
I'd like to ask you when looking at platform and service. How does it change or what
do you think the influence is in the fact that JBoss has announced some products
around it today?
Adrian Cole: I think first off, one of the things that JBoss they've been,
the opened source which is free software and that means, you're free as you
can view and participate in the software and free as in you can use it without
Cloud deployments, taking that to the next level means that now they're offering
free run times. You can actually run your services on their, let's call it, open shift
platform and so a developer can actually, not only develop their software using
something like JBoss platform or PHP or the other run times they support but also
actually put them into the cloud and not pay. So that's something that's a new
thing for them.
Before, they were about like making platform software in a free way but
now they're actually getting into running it in the cloud on behalf of you.
So that's a big new difference for them.
Jack Vaughan: I'd like to ask you too. I know you're involved within Infinispan
and that's at the heart of JBoss data grid discussed here at this conference.
And I know they're talking about taking it into the JCP process too.
What do you think?
Adrian Cole: Yes. I mean, first off, the JCP is where all of the Java standards
come out of so when somebody says you have a portable Java platform, the
reason they can say that is because there is some sort of JCP standard out
there for that. And traditionally speaking, if you look at a lot of platforms as
a service offerings, the new hooks that are created by like a Google app
engine or whatever are very enticing. Developers want to use them but the
vendors don't always actually take these hooks and push them into a standard
so that you can actually safely migrate on and off their platform.
So I think as you look at the future of JBoss type of technologies, their
platform plays and as they start to offer data grid services it makes a lot of
sense for them to take the APIs that developers hook into and push them
to the JCPs so they become a standard so they can have a chance to moving
to wherever they want to be because one of the main tenants of the JBoss
ideals is to actually use standards as they exist and then create new standards
for the new technology the platform needs.
So one of the biggest things you got there is data grids and so as represented
by like a reference implementation Infinispan, the data grid JSR is going
to be a way to switch between them and maybe one of their competitors
so that the customer ends up with choice.
Jack Vaughan: Let me ask you too, Adrian, about JCloud because it's
close to your heart, so what's a little bit of history of that?
Adrian Cole: Well, actually JCloud is in a way is helping you deal with
the lack of standards, to be frank, because if you look at how Amazon
and Azure and the Rackspace and OpenStack and all these other cloud
providers, they don't actually a standard API right now.
So what this does is it actually gives you a portability layer that's not standardized yet.
But it's the same so, for example, what you can do is you can use the same
code and work with these different cloud providers move your processes to
them without having to know all the intricate details of each cloud service provider.
Jack Vaughan: Can JCloud focus essentially on provisioning?
Adrian Cole: Yes. JCloud has a few functional areas we focus on.
The two most popular ones we have are Blob store which is like how
you access key value in USQL stores such as Amazon S3 or Rackspace
cloud files or a Microsoft Azure blog service and do that portably.
And then the other thing that's quite popular is provisioning the service
which allows you to create and control groups of virtual machines or even
physical machines so that you can deploy your run times to it. So for example
if you're running like a JBoss grid then you can use JClouds to actually boot
off all of the software needed to push that out and then maybe even shut
down and grow the cluster as demand is required.
So you can build a lot of interesting systems on top.