Cloud Wars – U.S. Army Using Agile Platform For Cloud Migration
According to CGN (Government Computer News) the U.S. Army’s Architecture Services Division within the Software Engineering Center (SEC) has deployed a platform for the quick development and migration of applications to the private cloud. The engineers are using OutSystems’ Agile Platform for this purpose.
Cloud Computing has been one of the wide spread hypes in the IT industry with only a few enterprises really betting on it. In the meantime, many organizations are actually leveraging Cloud technologies like those from Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft or Oracle. Due to security reasons, most companies and in government organizations have started to collect experiences with private clouds.
The core challenge is to create Cloud applications, as well as to migrate existing legacy code to the cloud. Cloud infrastructures offer the IT infrastructure (Infrastructure as a Service) and may also provide a development platform (Platform as a Service). The migration of applications to the cloud, whether a public, private or hybrid cloud is not straightforward or easy. This especially holds if prevention of vendor lock-in represents one of the main goals.
This is a gap which companies like OutSystems are trying to fill with their products. OutSystems is offering the Agile Platform which claims to provide an easy migration path for applications to be deployed on clouds.
On their web site, OutSystems describes the Agile Platform as
an integrated suite of free open source business apps to help you jump start the learning process and quickly deliver fully functional apps, in hours.
The product is supposed to take care of development and deployment activities, provide support of HTML 5, CSS 3, as well as enable the integration of mobile applications.
But vendor promises are one side of the coin, while real experiences are the other. As in all complex software and system architecture, development platforms need to be tested thoroughly to validate their suitability.
In the CGM news article, editor Rutrell Yasin explains:
The Agile Platform’s first test was a project to migrate a complex existing system to the cloud infrastructure. The system initially required two-and-a-half years to develop and deploy. By using Agile Platform, developers were able to re-deliver the application in only 16 weeks while adding new features, including a mobile interface, OutSystems officials said. The final application went to production in early November 2011.
Maybe, products such as the Agile Platform can boost the development and migration of application for clouds, no matter whether on-premises or not. Or are they just another silver bullet fading away in the near future? At least, the SEC seems to be happy with the path they took.
I just want to make a correction to the quote from OutSystems website, since it may cause confusion to some readers.
On the site's homepage, the Agile Platform is described as "complete solution to deliver custom enterprise applications with high productivity".
The product page (www.outsystems.com/agile-platform) goes on to describe that it "supports the entire application life cycle" to "develop, manage and change enterprise web and mobile apps"
Disclaimer: I work at OutSystems
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