Engine Yard, one of the earliest Platform-as-a-Service providers, today announced a complete re-architecting of its platform that creates flexibility for developers, and provides them with more granular control of their applications and the environments they run in.
There are three main points to the release, according to Bill Platt, Engine Yard’s senior vice president of operations. The first is that Engine Yard has moved to a modular architecture that abstracts the infrastructure from the application, enabling developers to choose the components (virtual machines, databases, operating systems, programming languages and middleware), while Engine Yard’s platform provides security, management and automation.
“Our platform runs against different infrastructures,” Platt said, “and we take care of the differences and complexities” between them. For now, Engine Yard runs on Amazon EC2 and Verizon’s cloud, but more support is due out later this year.
Secondly, Engine Yard had created a cluster model that lets developers bundle their apps, utilities and database replicas, and creates order for their application instances, Platt said. Developers can use whatever IDE they wish, and Engine Yard integrates via a full REST-based API set, he explained.
“The running application is isolated from Engine Yard’s environment, and it’s also isolated from other applications,” he said. “We don’t want to introduce anything proprietary that might interfere with the application running.”
Finally, the platform’s new monitoring and alerting capabilities let organizations rapidly see and share the health of an application environment so that action can be taken in real time.
Also in the coming months, Engine Yard plans to roll out blueprints that give users predefined configurations for rapid deployment, Platt said, featuring a new AngularJS-based user interface that’s workflow-oriented and offers a structured experience. The blueprints are based on Engine Yard’s best practices, gleaned from the company’s experience with a couple of generations of PaaS technologies, he added.
A key element of the Engine Yard big picture is stack management. The platform handles the orientation of all virtual machines and the role they play in an application. “Let’s say there are five VMs for the database tier and 20 VMs for the app tier,” Platt said. “You need to orient the VMs to each other, and we manage that.”
Engine Yard also provides security up and down the stack, Platt said, managing “literally hundreds of thousands of keys.”