Recently Amazon released Elastic Beanstalk, as reported by Kevin Kell. This is interesting product release from both a technical and business perspective.
From a technical perspective, Platform as a Service has many advantages over Infastructure as a Service (IaaS) from zero administration to pay per use. However, PaaS offerings from providers such as Google App Engine or Microsoft Azure take away almost total control from developers all aspects of tuning and administration at the system level. This is not always an advantage. Micorosoft has began to recognise this and released PaaS with elevated privileges giving some access to IIS for instance. What is exciting about Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk is that is offers PaaS with zero admin but also access to the complete underlying IaaS if required – PaaS that can morph into IaaS as and when required. This appears to be the perfect balance and I cannot wait to begin working with it.
From a business perspective I am intrigued about the differences between Amazon and Salesforce.com in particular and their approaches to Cloud Computing and marketing. Amazon’s approach is about getting things working and then releasing them. Contrast that to Salesforce.com, whose approach to Cloud Computing seems to be more about ‘land grab’ and momentum through acquisition at the moment. They have over the last 12 months made many announcements related to the cloud of products that were not ready for use – take for example database.com – still far from available for general use. In the PaaS area they have formed alliances with the likes of VMware and acquisitions such as Heroku. How does Heroku fit now that Elastic Beanstalk is offering much the same service !
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