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Jelastic Adds PHP to Their Platform for Service Hosting Providers

by Abel Avram on Feb 04, 2013 |

Besides Java, Jelastic has added PHP to their platform for service hosting providers. This article contains an interview with Dmitry Sotnikov, COO at Jelastic, with more inside information about their PaaS solution.

A 2012 Duke’s Choice Award Winner for their Java PaaS solution, Jelastic has recently added support for deploying and running PHP applications in their cloud. Jelastic PHP cloud hosting boasts about providing the following advantages:

  • High availability and automatic horizontal scalability
  • Automatic vertical scalability – Jelastic increases the availability of resources used as needed and moves applications to other nodes when the resource contention on a node increases to an unacceptable level
  • Security through isolation – applications run in nodes within virtual containers completely isolated from other nodes even when on the same physical machine
  • PaaS features – the user is offered PaaS-like features without having to manually set up and control the infrastructure
  • Support for App servers: Apache or nginx, SQL: MariaDB, PostgresSQL, MySQL, NoSQL: MongoDB, CouchDB, and Memcached. Also, applications can be integrated with Git or SVN.

Unlike other cloud providers owning their infrastructure, Jelastic is a PaaS cloud platform for other service hosting providers, the user having the option to choose the provider he/she prefers. InfoQ has talked to Dmitry Sotnikov, COO at Jelastic, to find out more about their hosting solution.

InfoQ: Does Jelastic have its own data centers or does it provide its PaaS services out of Amazon or another provider?

DS: Jelastic is different from other cloud services because we took the "Android" approach to the market. Instead of being a proprietary platform available from us and us only, we made the platform available to hosting companies so they can provide the service from their dataceters (similar to how you can get an Android phone from LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC and so on).

You can find the list of hosting companies already offering Jelastic here: http://jelastic.com/partners or just select the one you want to use when you sign up for a Jelastic trial at http://jelastic.com

This approach helped us expand very quickly. Jelastic launched publicly just 15 months ago, yet, it is already available around the globe: US, Brazil, UK, Germany, Finland, Russia, Japan. And there are quite a few hosting companies working on their upcoming launches so you can expect the hosting options for Jelastic expand even further within next few months.

InfoQ: How does Jelastic deal with reliability? Have you had any outages so far?

DS: (Knocking on wood) Nothing major so far but you must realize that no matter how good a cloud system is - hosting is hosting and outages are possible. This is why we consider our ecosystem approach to provide the best reliability you can think of. If something happens to Jelastic at hoster A, you can just switch to hoster B. Each hosting company is completely independent and autonomous - unlike "geographic redundancy" that Amazon or Azure claim that - as we already know from past outages - still have single points of failure in the companies' infrastructures.

InfoQ: I understand that Jelastic provides development hosting for Java and PHP, plus 2-3 SQL and 2 NoSQL databases. Any plans on adding support for other languages? How about other SQL/NoSQL data stores?

DS: Back in late 2011 we launched as Java-only PaaS with Tomcat and MySQL being the only stack options. Within a year we have added Glassfish and Jetty as application servers, a variety of databases: MariaDB, Posgres, MongoDB, CouchDB, and Memcached. This year we launched full PHP platform with both Apache and NGINX application servers. We will be continuing the expansion both to more programming languages and stack components (for example, we have already announced that TomEE is coming out as an application server option in Q1 2013).

Our mission is to keep expanding the stack availability so customers can get the stack that their application needs with the automation and scale of a cloud, and without having to get locked into proprietary platform or service.

InfoQ:  Why do you think Amazon AWS is so successful and GAE or Azure are struggling? And do you think Jelastic will do better than GAE/Azure? Why?

DS: Amazon is winning over Google App Engine and Azure due to its compatibility with existing applications. Both Google and Microsoft launched their platforms expecting customers to re-write their applications for the privilege of hosting them with these respective platforms. Add to that the fact that besides the initial learning and re-write costs you are getting locked into a platform that is only available from one service provider (Google or Microsoft) and this all comes to a quite dubious value proposition. For example, see this for a quick list of all the limitations that Google App Engine imposes.

With that being said, when users come to AWS they pay another price - administrative costs on setting up and maintaining the virtual machines that they get from Amazon (Elastic Beanstalk is still quite rudimentary and Amazon famously declared PaaS to not being strategic for the company)

We believe that the platform should combine the app compatibility of IaaS and automation of PaaS, so Jelastic has been designed to be able to host any application with no code changes required: you can deploy any code regardless of the build process that you use (or use Jelastic to build apps in the cloud), upload any libraries, change server configuration files, get public IP addresses, use any network ports, and so on. At the same time, Jelastic automates all the administrative tasks such as adding new servers, configuring clustering and load balancing, replicating configuration changes, and so on. So you really get the best of both worlds.

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