WSO2 Stratos - Platform-as-a-Service for private and public cloud

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  • By Paul Fremantle
  • 5 Oct, 2010

I'll be writing more about Stratos over the coming weeks and months, and I'll also provide links and tweets to other Stratos blogs, but in this blog I want to simply answer three questions:

  1. I'm already talking to {vmWare, Eucalyptus, Ubuntu, Savvis, Joyent} about private cloud - what does WSO2 add that they don't have?
  2. What is the difference between Stratos and the Cloud Images that WSO2 already ships?
  3. Why would I choose WSO2 over the other vendors offering Platform-as-a-Service?

In order to answer the first question, lets look at the cloud computing space, which is most easily divided up into:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): this is where Amazon, Eucalyptus, vmWare, Saavis and Joyent play
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Google App Engine, vmForce, Tibco Silver and now WSO2 Stratos play in this space.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Google Apps, Google Mail, Microsoft Office Live, Salesforce, SugarOnDemand - these and many more make up the SaaS category.

To generalize wildly, most people talking about public cloud today are talking about SaaS. And most people talking about private cloud today are talking about IaaS.

SaaS is fantastic for quick productivity and low cost. WSO2 uses Google Apps, Sugar on Demand and several other SaaS apps. But SaaS doesn't create competitive advantage. Mule also uses Google Apps. They may well use Salesforce. SaaS cannot produce competitive advantage because your competitors get access to exactly the same low-cost services you do. In order to create competitive advantage you need to build as well as buy. For example, we use our Mashup Server together with our Sugar Business Messaging Adapter to provide insight and management of our pipeline that goes beyond what Sugar offers.

IaaS is of course a great basis to build apps. But it's just infrastructure. Yes - you get your VM hosted quicker. But someone has to create a useful VM. And that is where PaaS comes in. PaaS is how to speed up cloud development.

What does Stratos give you on top of an IaaS? It gives you an Application Server, Registry, Identity Server, Portal, ESB, Business Activity Monitor and Mashup Server. And it gives you these as-a-Service: completely self-service, elasticly scalable, and granularly metered and monitored. Someone in your team needs an ESB - they can provision one for themselves instantly. And because it's multi-tenant, it costs nothing to run until it gets used. How do you know how it's used? The metering and monitoring tells you exactly how much each tenant uses.

2. What is the difference between Stratos and the existing WSO2 Cloud Images?

The cloud images we started shipping in December are not Cloud Native. Stratos is Cloud Native. In practice, this means that when you log into Stratos (go on try it now) you can instantly provision your own domain, together with a set of Stratos services. This saves memory - instead of allocating a new VM and minimum half a gigabyte of memory to each new server you get a new ESB with zero extra memory cost. And it's much easier. The new ESB will automatically be governed and monitored. It's automatically elastically clustered.

3. Why would I choose WSO2 over other PaaS vendors?

Firstly, if you look at PaaS as a whole there is a huge divide between Public PaaS and Private PaaS. The public PaaS vendors simply don't offer private options. You can't run force.com or Google App Engine applications internally, even if you want to. WSO2 bridges that gap with a PaaS you can use in the public Web, on a virtual private cloud, or on premises.

The second big differentiator between WSO2 and the existing PaaS offerings is the architecture. Mostly PaaS is a way of building webapps. WSO2 offers a complete enterprise architecture - governance, business process, integration, portal, identity and mashups. And we support the common Enterprise Programming Model (not just Java, WebApp, JAX-WS, but also BPEL, XSLT, XPath, Google Gadgets, WSDL, etc). The only other PaaS that I know of that offers a full Enterprise architecture is Tibco Silver.

The third and most important differentiator is about lock-in. Software vendors love lock-in - and Cloud vendors love it even more. So if you code to Google App Engine, you are tied into Google's identity model, Google's Bigtable, etc. If you code to force.com or vmForce - you are tied to force's infrastructure services. If you code to Tibco Silver, you are tied to Tibco. WSO2 fights this in three ways:

  • No code lock-in: we use standards-based coding (WAR, JAX-WS, POJO) and Stratos is 100% Apache License Open Source.
  • No model lock-in: we use standards-based services: 
    • Identity is based on OpenID, OAuth, XACML, WS-Trust
    • Registry is based on AtomPub and REST
    • Business Process is based on BPEL, etc
  • No hosting lock-in: you can take your apps and data from our public PaaS and re-deploy internally or on your own virtual private cloud anytime you like.

I hope you found this a useful introduction to Stratos. If you want more information, contact me paul@wso2.com, or check out the Stratos website or code.

Author: Paul Fremantle, CTO & Co-Founder, WSO2 Inc

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About Author

  • Paul Fremantle
  • Co-Founder & CTO
  • WSO2