How we tested cloud automation tools

We tested each RightScale, Appistry, and Tap In Systems via our account with Amazon cloud services.

We tested each RightScale, Appistry and Tap In Systems via our account with Amazon cloud services.

Our goal was to take a batch processing job and convert the job to the application under test. We wanted to code an application that would batch-process video files and encode them in another format using ffmpeg and spread them out through different instances. We wanted to do this either by scaling up the number of instances and having ffmpeg run on each instance or spread them out between instances. All three of these cloud tools were able to do this, but how each went about accomplishing that goal was quite different in the implementation.

All require a learning curve and some scripting or programming (Appistry far more so than others). It takes quite a bit of time to wrap your head around how each platform works.

Tap In's Control Editor was the simplest to understand in part because its model is visual and it's easy to see how your automation plan will work. The samples were simple enough to understand that we didn't have to go digging through tons of docs to figure out how it works, unlike the other two.

Appistry's complex configuration and coding made it difficult to setup or use quickly — and we found Appistry doesn't scale up or down the number of instances, although it can spread the tasks out between instances already launched.

RightScale's RightGrid's configuration wasn't a walk in the park either, but it took less time to get up and running with a simple app. The way it auto-scales up and down and stores results is quite impressive and powerful.

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