Appistry Open Distribution Not Open Source

Summary:Appistry's Sam Charrington (Vice President of Product Management & Marketing) and I enjoyed a long chat about the companies newest marketing move, giving software away to develop a broad developer community. Since I have seen this done before, I wanted to know more about what the company was doing besides "throwing the software over the wall in the hopes that someone would catch it.

Appistry's Sam Charrington (Vice President of Product Management & Marketing) and I enjoyed a long chat about the companies newest marketing move, giving software away to develop a broad developer community. Since I have seen this done before, I wanted to know more about what the company was doing besides "throwing the software over the wall in the hopes that someone would catch it."  It appears that Appistry has learned from the mistakes made by Borland, Computer Assocates, Sun and others before trying to assemble such a program. I learned that Appistry is doing quite a bit more.

Here's how Appistry describes "Open Distribution"

Appistry® EAF Community Edition

Appistry EAF Community Edition lets developers and architects experience the benefits of Appistry EAF first-hand, for FREE and with no strings attached!

Start today - download Appistry EAF Community Edition and receive a FREE license good for up to 10 cores on 5 machines! Your free license can be used for development, testing or even production deployment – for an unlimited time.

Getting started with Appistry EAF Community Edition is easy - visit the Peer2Peer developer portal today to download the software. Peer2Peer also hosts a variety of helpful resources, including documentation, tutorials and a community forum.

What does Appistry EAF do and why should I care?

Appistry's EAF is an application framework and development environment allowing organizations to gain the benefits of  "grid computing" or "parallel processing" environment without having to take on the role of being rocket scientists. Since it is increasingly common that an organization's datacenter is based upon racks of industry standard systems, grid computing techniques are likely to be of interest to almost any organization that has computationally intensive programs. Here's how the company describes its product.

Appistry EAF is a lightweight yet feature-rich platform for achieving high levels of scalability for your data- and CPU-intensive applications. As a whole, Appistry EAF features serve to simplify the process of developing, deploying and operating your applications. Specific Appistry EAF features include:

Transparent Scalability
  • Touch-less support for scaling out Java (POJOs), .NET (PONOs) and compiled executables
  • Support for Spring Framework allows applications to be deployed to grid/fabric changing only wiring
  • Adaptive, software-based load balancing
  • Linear scale with number of servers; minimal overhead
  • Adds concurrency (parallelism) to non thread-safe applications
  • Allows single threaded code to take advantage of multi-core processors
  • Declarative component orchestration
  • Robust, declarative workload management policies ensures optimal resource utilization
  • Affinity: Automated request routing
  • Fabric Accessible Memory (FAM):
    • Reliable, in-memory Tuple space for application state
    • Clustered queues
    • Cross-platform data structures

Software-Based Reliability
  • Declarative state replication ensures all work-in-flight on failed nodes completes successfully
  • New requests routed around failed nodes
  • Compensating transactional model enables robust application-level recovery
  • Declarative retries & timeouts ensure consistent application performance

Automated Management
  • Multi-tenant infrastructure supports multiple applications with isolated process spaces
  • Automated discovery of new nodes
  • Assimilation: Automated provisioning of system and application software stack on new nodes
  • Rolling updates: Applies software stack updates across fabric without taking applications out of service
  • Virtualized Administration allows entire fabric to be managed as single logical unit
  • Scriptable Administration
  • Web-based monitoring console
  • Performance metrics exposed via SOAP Web service

Snapshot analysis

Appistry is one of a few companies that are trying to help organizations enter the world of high performance computing without having hire technical gurus for their development organization. Companies such as Digipede and DataSynapse are also working towards the same goal. Each of these competitors are using completely different tactics, however.
  • Digipede has targeted the users of Windows and has made .NET parallel processing something nearly any Windows developer could deploy. Just about any Windows development tool can be used to create applications for a grid.The company has chosen to make its technology available very inexpensively.
  • DataSynapse has targeted those in the financial services community and has started to successfully reach into the ranks of governmental, engineering and scientific organizations. The company has developed two very powerful grid computing tools and a powerful management product to make grid computing a viable option. These tools are not being made available at low cost but, they can create parallel or high performance applications that are very cost effective if the comments of members of their user group can be taken as a guide (I spoke that DataSynapse's user conference last year).
  • Appistry is focused on apply grid computing technology to those developing Web-based or service oriented architecture-based applications and are trying to make their tools pervasive by offering a no-charge community edition.

Appistry is doing its best to pick up some of the most successful tactics found in the open source community and use them to become a common name mentioned by developers when they're speaking with one another. Some of these tactics include:

  • Offering a powerful development environment and application framework at no charge with the expectation that when a grid computing application is ready for large-scale production that the customer will move up to a more powerful version of Applistry EAF and purchase support services
  • Openning up a developer's portal and trying to build a community of developers that will help one another overcome technical challenges and provide other community members with tools. The company intends to offer community members application skeletons to simplify the task of creating complete applications. It also intends to develop a rewards program to encourage community members to contribute code and to help one another.
  • Did I mention offering their technology at no charge?

Appistry EAF is not being offered under an open source license and so, it can not be considered open source software.

In my view, this is an interesting gambit and the company appears to have carefully thought through how to create a successful community environment.

What do you think about this approach?

Topics: Open Source, CXO, Networking, Developer


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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