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Posted by John R. Rymer on April 26, 2011
Cloud computing will bring demand for elastic application platforms.
Promises that cloud computing can save money and reduce time-to-market by automatically scaling applications (either up or down) oversimplify what it takes to develop application architectures to achieve these benefits of elastic scaling. Few of today's business applications are designed for elastic scaling, and most of those few involve complex coding unfamiliar to most enterprise developers. A new generation of application platforms for elastic applications is arriving to help remove this barrier to realizing cloud's benefits. Elastic application platforms (EAPs) will reduce the art of elastic architectures to the science of a platform.
EAPs provide tools, frameworks, and services that automate many of the more complex aspects of elasticity. These include all the runtime services needed to manage elastic applications, full instrumentation for monitoring workloads and maintaining agreed-upon service levels, cloud provisioning, and, as appropriate, metering and billing systems. EAPs will make it normal for enterprise developers to deliver elastic applications — something that is decidedly not the norm today.
Forrester defines an elastic application platform as:
An application platform that automates elasticity of application transactions, services, and data, delivering high availability and performance using elastic resources.
We see organizations moving toward EAPs by extending their current web architectures, following one or more of four paths:
We are fast approaching the "crossing the chasm" moment for EAPs. Only a handful of vendors are offering comprehensive EAPs today, but Microsoft is in the game with its Azure platform. So are salesforce.com with its Force.com portfolio and GigaSpaces with XAP. We expect IBM to push its WebSphere platform into the EAP arena this year. And Oracle, as well. Bottom line: The big enterprise vendors will soon be offering EAPs too.
Mike Gualtieri and I collaborated on this research.
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