Engine Yard revamps architecture, aims to make PaaS more portable

In a nutshell, Engine Yard is aiming to allow developers to focus on building cloud applications by abstracting infrastructure platforms.

Engine Yard, which offers platform as a service for cloud application developers, launched a new architecture and outlined plans to offer blue prints as well as a new interface.

The company's rollout on Tuesday is the first installment of what's going to be a series of announcements. Engine Yard, backed by venture firms Benchmark and New Enterprise Associates as well as Amazon and Oracle, has about $28 million in revenue a year and is aiming to be an agnostic resource for cloud developers.

Engine Yard could find a nice niche in the platform as a service (PaaS) market. The biggest issue with PaaS today is that developers can be locked into an ecosystem. For instance, developers whether they choose Salesforce's Force.com, Microsoft's Azure or any other vendor, face some degree of lock-in. Why? It's not easy to swap platforms once you've placed your enterprise application bets.



In a nutshell, Engine Yard is aiming to allow developers to focus on building cloud applications by abstracting infrastructure platforms from the likes of Amazon Web Services and Verizon's Terremark, two partners. Bill Platt, senior vice president of operations at Engine Yard, said that the company is abstracting the infrastructure layer and "aiming to make it easier and shoppable over time."

"The goal is to give people options and let them decide where to run their applications," said Platt. "By combining different technologies it allows developers to have choices so they can be successful."

Engine Yard's new architecture forms the backbone of its cloud, which will enable developers to choose components and services to build applications. In many cases, the components are curated by Engine Yard, but developers can bring their own. That approach caters to developers building both public and private clouds.



Here's a look at the basis of Engine Yard's architecture:

  • The company is adopting build-in clusters to deploy, provision and configure apps quickly. These database clusters can be spread across regions. The cluster approach allows developers to manage a set of virtual machines as one entity.
  • Infrastructure abstraction is also a key piece of the equation. Engine Yard plans to be a gateway into multiple infrastructure as a service providers beyond Amazon Web Services and Terremark. Platt noted that infrastructure abstraction means that developers don't need to worry about what happens underneath running the application.
  • Automatic monitoring and alerting features in all Engine Yard deployments to give developers a view into virtual resources.

As for the future roadmap, Engine Yard outlined a user interface that's designed to be intuitive for developers as well as blueprints, which are plug and play application environments.