How to cloudify your apps

PaaSLane tells customers how to migrate to the cloud

So you're ready to run your custom-built application in the cloud. Congratulations. But there's one question to you may want to consider before launching it in your private cloud, or Amazon's public cloud: Will it work?

It's a question that the folks at Cloud Technology Partners, a Boston-based consultancy, get quite a bit. So, today the company launched a new platform named PaaSLane that allows customers to test their application for just how cloud-ready it is.

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"It looks at the sourcecode and it tells you, if you move this over to a cloud endpoint, it may not run very well," says Cloud TP VP John Treadway. "Or, it could say that the code looks fine and it's ready to go."

PaaSLane provides recommendations of what changes are needed to an application's source code to make it cloud ready, providing a set of recommendations and remediations. PaaSLane runs as either a hosted platform that users can upload their applications to or it can run on a customer's site. The analysis provides a set of parameters that will show how to make applications more cloud-ready. 

There are some challenges in doing this though. Custom-built applications from various organizations are each very different, and cloud platforms from various providers vary significantly as well. PaaSLane takes a high-level approach to evaluating applications. "We start with a generic set of things that are relevant to all clouds," Treadway explains: are they elastic, scalable and resilient?

For example, some applications may write metadata to local files. Re-programming the application to decouple the compute and storage processes could help make the application run easier in a distributed environment, whether it's a public or private cloud.

For some applications there will be more code to rewrite than others. One customer that CloudTP recently worked with needed about three full days of coding to reorganize the application to run in Amazon's cloud. Another needed only a couple hours worth of coding work to optimize the application to run in the cloud. Some customers could decide after reviewing the results that it may not be cost effective to re-program the application to run in a cloud environment.

The point is the cloud is being used today for a variety of use cases, and a common one is for new, greenfield applications that are born in the cloud and are hosted there. But enterprises still have a whole bunch of legacy applications they run too. Having a process that can help ease the migration of those applications to a distributed, virtualized environment could be helpful. 

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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