While in Colorado I took the opportunity to spend some time with Standing Cloud – a vendor that provides an abstraction layer sitting on top of infrastructure offerings that helps cloud users deploy, manage, customize and develop applications on different IaaS offerings with different programming languages.
The service currently supports PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, and Python, along with well known applications such as WordPress, SugarCRM and Magento. In terms of what Standing Cloud offers users, the list is extensive;
- Applications such as WordPress, Drupal and SugarCRM
- Quick deployments. Our installs are configured for quick and painless, best-practice deployment
- Server resizing
- Backups and redundancy
- Automatic restore
- Preview and test upgrades
Standing Cloud is another play that adds an abstraction layer on top of IaaS to cater for what Dave Jilk from Standing Clouds calls “informal buyers”, those who don’t have access to systems administrator resource, but who need to stand up application on the public cloud. It’s what I would term a necessary evil – at the moment with IaaS being quite immature in terms of the amount of heavy lifting it does for it’s users, a third party that offers a managed platform is an attractive proposition.
I do feel however that as IaaS becomes ever-more commoditized, IaaS vendors will start to move further up the stack and offer more management tools and “platform-like” offerings. Recent developments by both VMware and Amazon have shown this to be the case. I put this to Jilk and suggested this was a risk to the viability of what Standing Cloud are doing – as would be expected, he disagreed saying that while there is a desire from Cloud providers to move up the stack ;
Their ability to develop that layer is not strong, they’re infrastructure people… we work at the layer above that
That kind of talk makes me nervous – it would be a brave man to suggest that organizations such as Amazon, VMware, Rackspace or Microsoft lack the ability to offer a Cloud application layer on top of their infrastructure. Recent developments such as Amazon’s Beanstalk, VMware’s CloudFoundry and other offerings have shown that they have the ability and prescience to move themselves in to the higher value layers of the stack.
That’s not to say that Stranding Cloud is a hopeless case, there’s still a need for a vendor-agnostic application layer and there are still some infrastructure providers that might see Standing Cloud as a potential partner (or acquisition target) to provide their own value-added offering. Anyway, time will tell, for know you can see my interview with Dave Jilk from Standing Cloud below;