The fact that Amazon.com selected the open source Apache Tomcat as the Java application server powering Amazon.com's entry into the Java platform-as-a-service market came as little surprise to Java vendors and industry watchers. Amazon.com's pricing strategy, on the other hand, will surely surprise some vendors and IT decision makers. Additionally, Amazon.com's apparent lack of contributions to the Apache Tomcat project should be considered as you make your Java cloud-platform selection decisions.
Betting on Java in the cloud
Amazon.com's newly announced AWS (Amazon Web Services) Elastic Beanstalk beta cloud offering is being positioned as proof that Java is alive and well. Sacha Labourey, CEO at CloudBees, a Java cloud platform provider, writes: "This is great news as it reinforces the message that the future of Java is in the cloud, not on premises." (I'd adjust Labourey's comment to read: "the future of Java is in the cloud and on premises.")
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Amazon.com's Jeff Barr explains AWS Elastic Beanstalk as follows:
AWS Elastic Beanstalk will make it even easier for you to create, deploy, and operate Web applications at any scale. You simply upload your code, and we'll take care of the rest. We'll create and configure all of the AWS resources (Amazon EC2 instances, an Elastic Load Balancer, and an Auto Scaling Group) needed to run your application. Your application will be up and running on AWS within minutes.
When the de facto public cloud provider, Amazon.com, launches a Java-based cloud platform offering ahead of another language such as Ruby, it speaks volumes about Java's future.
Amazon.com's loss-leader pricing for AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Although AWS Elastic Beanstalk is seen as a good turn for Java, Amazon.com's pricing strategy may not be welcome news for some Java vendors.
Why? Consider this: Amazon.com's Barr mentions, almost in passing, "PS -- I almost forgot! You can build and run Elastic Beanstalk applications at no charge beyond those for the AWS resources that you consume." Amazon.com has effectively set the price for the operating system, Web server, Java runtime, and application server software components of a public Java cloud platform at $0.00 per hour.
Aside from these software components, the functionality to monitor a running environment, as well as proactively provision and scale resources to meet service-level agreements would be considered key elements of a cloud platform.