Atos is coordinating an interesting PaaS-related, EU-funded R&D project focused on Cloud interoperability, governance and open standards. “Cloud4SOA” is creating a middleware framework for applications developers wanting to use a PaaS platform that promises Cloud interoperability and PaaS platform independence. The project is soon to get its first beta release.
While not many people talk these days about SOA (almost defunct as a marketing term?!), the promise of the platform seems very appealing. There are four key domains that the Cloud4SOA project tackles:
- matchmaking: focused on PaaS offering discovery, comparison and recommendation. Cloud4SOA has a semantic algorithm built in that allows application developers to search, compare and rank the different PaaS offerings relative to the various parameters of application profile description. In addition, the matchmaking function is supposed to suggest matching descriptions between various PaaS platforms and the requirements of the application developer.
- apps management: supports the deployment and governance of applications by providing PaaS platform adaptors in various PaaS environments, including the independent verification of PaaS SLA. Atos has already built adaptors to a number of PaaS offerings (ie Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, CloudBees, CloudFoundry, OpenShift, Heroku, cloudControl) and is looking to expand that to other vendors.
- app monitoring: provides application developers with a set of tools to monitor performance and Quality of Service (QoS) (eg latency, runtime) for applications hosted by various PaaS platforms.
- app migration: contains a toolset that should help smooth application migration from one PaaS platform to another. The capability covers both application data and application estate migration and should resolve semantic conflicts between different PaaS platforms.
Among the other parties that have worked together with Atos on the Cloud4SOA initiative are academic partners CERTH (Greece) and NUI Galway (Ireland) for semantics and SOA development, and industry partners SingularLogic (Greece) creating system’s harmonized API and platform adaptors, Cynetlix (Netherlands) for the front-end interface, PaaS provider cloudControl (Germany) for platform monitoring, and Fraunhofer, Portgual Telecom and RomTelecom for market-oriented use cases.
The project will be kept open source to encourage third parties to experiment with it. Yet following the completion of the project (expected by H2 2013), Atos could productize and commercialize components of the Cloud4SOA middleware platform it helped develop.
As to whether Atos will ever bring the product (or selected components) to market, we understand that discussions are ongoing with other parts of Atos.
If they do, it could be a very strong differentiator against the other major SIs. So far, none of the leading SIs has a platform or a clear methodology to enable interoperability and application management within multi-PaaS environments.
Also, in parallel, the Cloud4SOA multi-partner consortium looks into options to offer it as-a-Service via public hosting.
As said, the Cloud4SOA initiative is yet to be launched. Stay tuned on how the project will evolve and whether there will be a commercial outcome from it.
by George Mironescu