Extending your VMware Cloud Infrastructure with a Private Platform-as-a-Service

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1 Extending your VMware Cloud Infrastructure with a Private Platform-as-a-Service Stackato Offers a Fast, Secure Way to Deploy Applications to your VMware Private Cloud White Paper Published in 2011

2 Extending your VMware Cloud Infrastructure with a Private Platform-as-a-Service Stackato Offers a Fast, Secure Way to Deploy Applications to your VMware Private Cloud If you already use VMware s Cloud Infrastructure as a virtualization platform, you are well on your way to providing Information Technology (IT) as a Service. But as businesses demand faster results in today s competitive market, organizations look to gain more benefits from cloud computing than just virtualized infrastructure. ActiveState Stackato extends your private cloud infrastructure and your VMware investment by creating a private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your development teams. The Challenge IT needs to be agile. You need to serve the needs of various customers whether development teams, internal business users, partners, or end-customers who demand more in today s competitive environment. So if a system administrator needs to create and configure a unique environment every time a developer has an application to deploy, your team is wasting precious time and resources. IT needs control. You have critical applications under your management, and you need to ensure that your data and applications are private, secure, available, and completely under your control. Maybe some developers, frustrated with the time it takes to provision and set-up an appropriate environment, have considered using a public PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service). After all, a PaaS provides an on-demand, self-service platform that brings an affordable means of deploying a new application. 1

3 Is your Data Safe? If your developers are using a public cloud or PaaS, they could be putting confidential corporate and customer data out of your control. This potential vulnerability requires a high degree of confidence that public providers can keep data isolated and protected. On a public PaaS, you need to ask several questions: Can you verify the security of your application and data? Can you modify and scale to suit the growing needs of your development team? How is it integrating with internal infrastructure and data? Does it comply with regulatory standards for privacy? Can you migrate and manage existing web applications? Can Developers Choose the Right Tool? If you already use VMware cloud infrastructure, your organization s IT resources are pooled and abstracted into logical building-blocks of storage, network, and server units, creating virtual data centers, and these resource containers are then dynamically allocated to your various applications, governed by defined business rules and user demand. Building and using cloud environments within an enterprise requires the collaboration of IT, DevOps, and application development teams. When designing applications, developers often require different middleware components to build and then run each application. For example, one developer may want to run a Django application on a relational database like MySQL. Another developer creating a financial application may want to choose to build in Python and use a different database altogether. Developers within your enterprise may develop applications that require entirely different components within the software stack. If each stack only has a single application or tenant it can become extremely difficult to manage. On a private cloud, you need to ask several questions: Are rigid, standardized stacks providing the flexibility developers need to get the job done? Does each application require specific scripts and middleware components? Can you easily apply updates and changes across your enterprise? Can your current solution continue to support the fast-changing needs of the business? This white paper will explore these challenges, examine available options, and discuss ActiveState s solution: Stackato. 2

4 Information Technology in the Cloud Most Fortune 1000 organizations have various mission-critical applications shared by multiple constituencies of users, deployed across their enterprise. From Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to simple Perl scripts or longrunning Python financial algorithms, these applications are built using a wide range of languages, databases, frameworks, web servers, and other technologies. These all consume IT resources that management need to move to an on-demand, flexible infrastructure to manage costs and better utilize their IT hardware investments. The concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1960s, but became most popular with applications such as , billing, or CRM delivered in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model that eased IT administration burden by off-loading application management off-site. Then companies starting realizing benefits of putting infrastructure in the cloud by providing network access to computing resources such as processing power and storage, through the Infrastructureas-a-Service (IaaS) model. This is a multi-user, virtualized infrastructure that allows you to purchase resources (servers, software, data center space, network equipment) on a pay-as-you-go basis; for example, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or Rackspace. On top of this cloud infrastructure have emerged application hosting platforms for developers to build, deploy, and host their own applications known as the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. PaaS is the next step in cloud computing, providing a solution stack that includes everything developers need to build webbased applications: hardware, operating system, web server, database, language runtime, modules, and web framework; for example, Heroku, a platform for Ruby applications. Each of these service models may be hosted by a third-party service provider in a public cloud, deployed in a private cloud, or be shared among a limited number of trusted partners. Public Versus Private Clouds Many enterprises with strict policies or compliance requirements for data isolation, security, or privacy, use private clouds to leverage the same advantages offered by public clouds -- self service, scalability, and elasticity -- while providing additional security, control, and customization capabilities. The primary differentiator of a private cloud is that it operates exclusively for a specific organization, managed either by the organization itself or by a third party, and software applications can be securely deployed behind the corporate firewall. VMware Cloud Infrastructure is the leading platform for creating a private IaaS or private cloud. vsphere is the industry-leading virtualization platform that allows you to more efficiently use your server farms, dramatically lowering your IT costs and streamlining system administration. vsphere helps you provision IT-as-a-Service so you can create self-service on-demand infrastructure to increase productivity, improve hardware utilization, and reduce costs. 3

5 VMware vsphere includes infrastructure services that virtualize server, storage, and network resources, aggregate them, and allocate them on demand to applications to create a resilient environment. Application services such as VMware vcenter Server provide controls for applications and visibility into the virtual infrastructure, automation of day-to-day operational tasks, and the scalability to manage large data center environments. What is Platform-as-a-Service? Many organizations lack the IT resources to support maintaining multiple technology platforms or stacks so they standardize on a single technology stack - perhaps a Linux distribution, a choice of Ruby or Java, MySQL and Apache Tomcat - and then the developers are forced to design their applications within these limitations. PaaS offerings allow developers to choose the best cloud stack for their application and makes it easy for them to develop, test, deploy, host, and maintain applications without the cost and complexity of purchasing and managing the underlying hardware and software, and provisioning hosting capabilities for web applications and services. Some potential issues with public PaaS: Generally available for specific languages, application frameworks, and configuration, so applications have to conform to certain guidelines (i.e. not flexible) They are typically designed for new applications and don t provide the ability to migrate existing application datathey are typically designed for new applications and don t provide the ability to migrate existing application data. Why do you Need a Private Platform-as-a-Service? A private PaaS is an application platform that works on top of your private IaaS or private cloud infrastructure, exclusively for your enterprise. It enables developers to leverage all the benefits of a public PaaS (on-demand availability, fast deployment, elasticity) to deploy, manage, and monitor applications but meet the security, privacy, and compliance requirements enterprises demand. With a private PaaS, applications share infrastructure resources (instances) with other applications, but each one is isolated via secure multi-tenant containerization - so that one doesn t adversely affect the system or other applications. A private PaaS provides security. Breaches of public websites are regularly reported in the media, and while most estimates of their costs are anecdotal, the resulting financial damages for organizations can be extremely serious. A private PaaS is exclusive to your enterprise and less vulnerable to such attacks. 4

6 A private PaaS provides privacy. Virtually all organizations collect identifiable information about customers that they are obligated, and in many cases, legally required to keep this information private; for example, healthcare or financial records. A private PaaS keeps this sensitive information within the company. A private PaaS provides control. While having developers deploy their own applications to the cloud through a public PaaS saves IT significant overhead, you want to ensure that development teams conform to corporate standards and policies. Having a developer deploy applications to a thirdparty cloud provider could lead to a wide range of support issues. A private PaaS gives you control over how developers push applications to the cloud. The Solution: Stackato Stackato is the application platform for creating a private PaaS using any language on any stack on any cloud. From the desktop to the datacenter, Stackato makes it easy to develop, deploy, migrate, scale, manage, and monitor applications on any cloud. With Stackato, developers can simulate a production environment on a local machine, code, test, and then launch an application to any cloud. And Enterprise IT can achieve new levels of data security, reduce time to market, save money, ensure compliance, and gain greater control over the cloud. Stackato deploys each application to virtual servers, automatically setting up everything an application requires to run a web server, a database, language interpreter, a web framework, prerequisite modules virtually eliminating IT configuration time. By providing self-serve choices along with data migration tools, developers are able to get applications to market faster with Stackato. 5

7 Stackato: A Cloud Application Platform for Creating a Private PaaS What s Included in Stackato Web Servers» Nginx» Apache» Apache TomEE Data & Messaging Services» MySQL MongoDB Redis» RabbitMQ»» PostgreSQL» Filesystem Languages ActivePython ActivePerl Java PHP Ruby Node.js Erlang Scala Clojure.NET Web Frameworks» Django Flask» Bottle Dancer Rails Sinatra Spring» Pyramid Mojolicious» Catalyst + more Push app to cloud from IDE or CLI WEB SERVER DATA & MESSAGING SERVICES WEB FRAMEWORKS LANGUAGES SaaS/Applications Layer PaaS LAYER IaaS/Infrastructure Layer A Diverse, Multi-Choice Cloud Application Platform Apache TomEE BUILT ON Micro Cloud Private Cloud Public Cloud Hybrid Cloud Make it easy to provision and manage diverse technology ecosystems on your VMware Cloud Infrastructure rather than conforming to rigid, standardized stacks. Stackato is built on Cloud Foundry, a VMware-sponsored open-source project that fills the gap between the virtualized system and the application. Selected by VMware to be the Community Lead Partner Python for CloudFoundry, ActiveState has hardened this open source offering, making it enterprise-ready. Stackato extends with popular languages, ActivePython and ActivePerl distributions and their built-in binary package managers: PyPM and PPM. This gives you enterpriseready Python and Perl, and quick access to thousands of valuable modules from PyPI and CPAN including the latest frameworks for building web applications (Django, Pylons, Mojolicious, Catalyst and more). Ruby + OTHERS + CONNECT TO OTHERS + OTHERS Trademarks and logos are properties of their respective companies. Stackato: a pre-configured cloud application platform with multiple choices Auto-Configured & Scalable With Stackato, development teams can deploy new applications, or migrate existing Python, Perl, Node.js, Java, and Ruby applications to the cloud, and automatically provision an application environment with your choice of languages and frameworks (Django, Pyramid, Rails, Mojolicious, Catalyst and more) including module/package dependencies. Each developer has the freedom choose the database engine (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, MongoDB) that is best for each application. Developers can mix and match frameworks and databases to fit the needs of the 6

8 application, rather than trying to make the application work with the pre-ordained stack because it is so costly to support a diversity of technology ecosystems. They can develop applications for various uses on various platform stacks. Whether they need Python or Java, MySQL or MongoDB, they are free to pick the best tools for the job. Stackato automatically configures application environments, virtually eliminating the time IT and DevOps spend on configuration and dependency management when preparing for cloud deployment. Stackato installs and sets up everything an application requires to run a web server, a database, language interpreter, a web framework, prerequisite modules then deploys the application to as many server instances as required. Now that s freedom for IT and development teams. An End-to-End Development Platform Code, debug, test, and deploy directly from the desktop to the cloud using ActiveState s Komodo IDE. The Stackato client offers all the functionality of CloudFoundry s vmc client, with additional functionality for running server side commands and accessing databases services in the Stackato cloud. If you choose to use Komodo IDE, you can test and debug applications in the environment that they will be deployed. With disposable portable environments ( micro clouds ) that are virtually identical to the production cloud but simply a smaller, scaled-down version of the production environment, developers can easily move applications from desktop to production. Simplified Application Lifecycle and Data Migration Management Stackato includes enterprise-ready staging and updating processes to ensure your production application updates and migrations have minimal downtime. With Stackato, you can easily seed your application s databases, and extract and back-up from databases. You can migrate and deploy applications in a few simple steps. Administrators can easily replicate configurations of existing application environments, and then use the Stackato application update and data migration functionality to move new, existing, legacy or third party applications to the cloud with minimal re-engineering. The Stackato client offers all the functionality expected of a vmc clone, with additional commands to migrate existing applications and data, and for executing server-side commands necessary for deploying certain applications (eg. Django and other web frameworks). From mission-critical behemoths to throw-away scripts, Stackato simplifies application lifecycle management with tools and processes designed for portability. 7

9 Dynamic Load Balancing and Elastic Scalability Once your application is pushed to the cloud, Stackato scales the application as necessary to automatically grow as usage grows. The application can be distributed across multiple instances (even in different data centers) for load balancing, redundancy, and to ensure up-time and availability. Every component in your stack is protected by health checks and automated fail-over, and you can modify memory and instance allocation for all your applications using the Stackato client. Stackato s elastic scalability delivers the performance your end-users demand. A Platform Optimized for VMware s Cloud Infrastructure Stackato is a hardened, enterprise-ready version of Cloud Foundry, so you don t need to work through various minor but time-consuming details that make the difference between open source and commercial-grade software. Installation is easy. The server-side Stackato components are packaged as a virtual machine that can be run as a stand-alone micro cloud instance, or cloned across a vsphere cluster as specialpurpose nodes (controller, router, data services, and execution agents). Enterprise-ready means Stackato works seamlessly with the world s leading cloud infrastructure by VMware, to ensure your application automatically and elastically scales to meet the demands of your most popular applications. Run Stackato on vsphere, then manage and monitor using vcenter for centralized control and visibility at every level of virtual infrastructure. Stackato also works with cloud application monitoring services such as New Relic and Loggly.com, to ensure your applications are meeting your service and performance standards. As a real-time application performance dashboard, New Relic provides immediate insight from the end user s behavior down to the line of code. 8

10 Benefits Stackato enables IT to save significant amount of time, so development teams get applications to market faster. IT and DevOps Teams: Time Savings, Agility, Portability, Security Save significant IT configuration time: Reduce the amount of time and manual effort spent on configuring new stacks for each application with on-demand self-service and automatic configuration. Respond to Business Needs Faster: Create a private PaaS to help development teams get to market faster. Portability: From a Micro Cloud Virtual Machine (VM), to a private cloud, to a public cloud (like Amazon EC2), or a hybrid cloud. So if your cloud infrastructure plans change, Stackato changes with you. Security by isolation: Enable application developers to share computing resources while isolating each application in a secure container (LXC). Development Teams: Faster Time-to-Market, Self-Service, Flexibility Deploy in minutes, not weeks: Deployment no longer needs to involve requisition, setup and IT time. Simply push from the desktop and Stackato automatically configures the rest. Faster code to cloud: Code and debug with Komodo IDE (or Stackato client with another IDE, such as Eclipse), test in the Stackato micro cloud,and get your application to the cloud faster. On-Demand Self-Service: Developers should be coding, not configuring. Now they can serve themselves to deploy applications in minutes. Flexibility: Stackato gives developers choice. Choose the best data service, language and framework for the task at hand. Who Should Use Stackato? Large Organizations Using Private Clouds: When the risk of a public PaaS is simply not an option for your organization, whether government or large enterprise, you rely on VMware cloud infrastructure for a private cloud. Take that investment to the next level and turn your private, secure, elastic IaaS into a PaaS and help make your development teams more responsive to the needs of the business. ISVs and System Integrators Creating SaaS Applications: For software vendors under pressure to provide their applications as a software service, or start-ups with new SaaS applications, Stackato is an excellent choice. If you have security, data privacy, or compliance concerns, such as holding medical records or other sensitive data in your applications, a public PaaS may not be your best option. Stackato enables you to focus on building your best application with the language and data services of your choice, then deploy in your own private cloud, or a private cloud with a managed provider. 9

11 Cloud and Managed Hosting Providers: For IaaS, cloud, and managed hosting providers, bare infrastructure may not be enough to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Add value to your offerings and convenience for your customers with Stackato as a pre-configured, optimized multichoice PaaS on top of your own hosting services. More Any organization that wants to be in control of their sensitive data should consider using a private PaaS behind their own firewall. Monitoring Web Users Deploy & Upgrade > Client HTTP(S) HTTPS Router Cloud Controller Message Bus (NATS) DEA(s) (Droplet Execution Agents) Health Manager Controller Messaging Services File Systems Databases TCP Services Stager How Stackato Works on a vsphere cluster or hosted with a public IaaS provider How Stackato Works with VMware s Cloud Infrastructure How it Works: Stackato Architecture All external connections are handled by the Router, which sends web user connections directly to a worker node (Droplet Execution Agent or DEA) hosting the requested application, distributing load as it does so. Developers connecting with the Stackato client are routed to the Controller, which handles the staging of applications (preparing the application environment), initial allocation of DEAs for the application and subsequent scaling. Data services are created on request, and can be shared by multiple DEAs. The VMs in the cluster communicate with each other over a common message bus (RabbitMQ). 10

12 Setup Setting up Stackato involves a few simple steps: 1. Downloading and unzipping the vsphere archive. 2. Importing into vsphere. 3. Cloning the VM/template to create the Controller and Droplet Execution Agent (DEA) nodes. Stackato acts as a standalone micro cloud VM with all the components necessary for running a test environment in one instance. For use at scale, the VM is cloned and differentiated into specific roles: router, cloud controller, data services, staging or DEA. Developers can then setup the Stackato client in a simple, 3-step procedure: 1. Set the target URL of the Stackato VM to which you wish to deploy. 2. Register or login as a Stackato user. 3. From the base directory of your application, run stackato push. The Stackato client bundles the application and pushes it to the server. Configuration files in the application directory tell the cloud Controller what additional software is required for the application. Stackato assembles the application environment and deploys the application to one or more worker nodes. 11

13 Monitoring Applications Running on Stackato Monitor your private cloud and applications with vcenter, New Relic, and the Stackato Management Console. Stackato comes with its own web-based GUI Management Console, which lets you monitor your applications in the cloud. In addition, Stackato also works with industry-standard IT infrastructure monitoring tools such as VMware vcenter, Nagios, and cloud application monitoring services such as New Relic (included with Stackato). Learn More. Try Stackato. Are you interested in a private PaaS? Sign up for the Stackato Micro Cloud to try it today, or test it out on a Sandbox on Amazon EC2. Go to Looking for pricing information? Contact us for options and a quote today. 12

14 About ActiveState ActiveState empowers innovation from code to cloud smarter, safer, and faster. ActiveState s cutting-edge solutions give developers and enterprises the power and flexibility to develop in Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, Node.js, PHP, Tcl, and more. Stackato is ActiveState s groundbreaking cloud platform for creating a private platform as a service (PaaS), and is the cost-effective, secure, and portable way to develop and deploy apps to the cloud. ActiveState is proven for the enterprise: More than two million developers and 97% of Fortune-1000 companies use ActiveState s end-to-end solutions to develop, distribute, and manage their software applications. Global customers like Cisco, CA, HP, Bank of America, Siemens, and Lockheed Martin look to ActiveState to save time, save money, minimize risk, ensure compliance, and reduce time to market. For more information, visit ActiveState Software Inc Granville Street Vancouver, BC V6C 1T2 Phone: Fax: phone: Toll-free in North America ActiveState Software Inc. All rights reserved. ActiveState, Komodo,, ActivePerl, ActivePython and Stackato are trademarks or registered trademarks of ActiveState. All other marks are property of their respective owners.

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