Interest levels soar when compelling ideas 'go mainstream'. Unfortunately, so does hype. Such is the current case for Cloud Computing. And this makes it both an exciting and challenging time. For those interested in actually making use of the Cloud, Aptana's offering is a solid bet on three fronts.
Aptana's tag line is: "Develop, host and manage Web apps in the Cloud". And although numerous others make similar promises, Aptana actually delivers. Here attention focuses on how Aptana makes good on these promises through an overview of the development, hosting and management of Web applications in the Aptana Cloud.
Develop Web Apps
From the outset, it is very clear that the Cloud offering from Aptana is created with the developer in mind. Perhaps the most compelling component of the Aptana offering is the Aptana Studio. Briefly, Aptana Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that is available for Linux, Mac and Windows platforms. This allows for local development of applications on a platform of choice and then deployment into the Aptana Cloud. Using this Open-Source, Eclipse-based IDE, developers have the freedom to code for the Java, Jaxer (Aptana's server-side AJAX platform), PHP/MySQL/Apache, Python or Ruby on Rails Web platform. Cloud-enablement includes the ability to work with remote databases, monitor HTTP interactions in real time and manage source code effectively. And for those occasions when CLI interaction is a requirement, ssh and scp are supported. Another high-value feature of the Aptana Cloud is a staging environment. As the name implies, this environment allows developers to prototype applications in a restricted-deployment scenario that allows for feedback - e.g., from their customers. Once applications are validated on business and technical fronts, production deployment from the staging environment is easily executed.
Host Web Apps
As noted above, the Aptana Cloud is designed from the outset to enable rapid deployment of suitably qualified applications. Staged applications are easily transitioned into production using wizards that accelerate the `cloudification' process. Once deployed, applications are able to take full advantage of Cloud Computing's innate ability to scale according to actual usage in real time.
Manage Web Apps
By its very nature, the Cloud is an amorphous entity. This means that management and monitoring are neglected to poorly emphasized aspects of many Cloud offerings. Fortunately, the Aptana Cloud bucks this trend by making available dashboards for status reporting and performance measures, event-based alerts that are needs-customizable, plus historical data in the form of Web logs and statistics. And last, but definitely not least, Aptana's offering allows for backups - i.e., backups to a private area of the Cloud as well as to non-Aptana resources.
There is a subtext evident in the Aptana offering. Whether it is developing, hosting or managing Web apps, the Aptana Cloud is all about right-focusing your efforts. In trading CapEx for OpEx, the Aptana Cloud is a compelling realization of the Cloud Computing paradigm; on both business and technical fronts, it allows organizations to effectively and efficiently focus their efforts - i.e., on realizing their value proposition for their customers.