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SteamCannon and Elastic Beanstalk, A Comparison

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Last week Amazon announced Elastic Beanstalk, but there is also an Open Source project named SteamCannon.  SteamCannon is sponsored by RedHat and has been in active development since September 2010.  Written in Ruby and running on top of TorqueBox, SteamCannon is a solution to simplify the deployment of Java EE and Rails applications to EC2 and VirtualBox.   There are many other differences, as outlined by Ben Browning in a news post late last week.

The Differences

Amazon has announced with subsequent releases they will support additional languages yet SteamCloud supports both Java and Ruby today.  In regards to deployment packaging, SteamCloud supports .war, .ear, .rails, .rack and more.  Essentially if you can deploy it in TorqueBox and JBoss AS6 it is supported.

As to the application environment, SteamCannon has better multi-tenant support in that it allows multiple applications to be deployed in a single environment using different context paths whereas Beanstalk creates a new environment per application.  Using JBoss AS6 allows SteamCannon to support several logical architectures from a developer configuration with PostgresSQL to a three tier configuration with mod_cluster, JBoss AS6 and PostgreSQL.  SteamCannon also supports clusters and provides load balancing via a mod_cluster instance enabling session replication and caching within the cluster.

Coming Features in SteamCannon

  • Consistent application URLs
  • SSL Support for applications
  • Support for all EC2 instance types
  • Customizable JVM Options
  • Auto-Scaling
  • High Availability via multiple zones, (at present all instances must be in the same zone)
  • Notifications
  • Better Monitoring Support and Metrics

New Release Soon

There is a new release of SteamCannon coming in the next few weeks, version 0.3 expected to launch on February 1, 2011.  Version 0.3 will add support for handling multiple cloud credentials, a client API, support for all EC2 regions, and most notably support for running inside VirtualBox on a single machine thus supporting private cloud capabilities.

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