You had to know that Amazon.com would get into the platform cloud service business at some point, and last week marked that very occasion. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk promises to simplify the creation, deployment, and operations of Web applications as they scale, with Amazon.com provisioning and configuring the necessary AWS resources, such as EC2 instances, Elastic Load Balancer, and Auto Scaling Group.
You can think of AWS Elastic Beanstalk as Apache Tomcat on demand for supporting Java development in the cloud. Amazon.com is offering loss-leader pricing in which you pay only if you use AWS infrastructure services. It's almost as if Amazon.com were selling Ginzu knives, not platform services, and Elastic Beanstalk is the free pair of scissors in the deal.
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Who gets sand kicked in the face? Salesforce.com's Force.com cloud platform comes to mind. Salesforce.com can read the tea leaves and is gearing up for a fight. Salesforce.com recently paid $212 million for Heroku, a cloud platform for Ruby developers that should be a much better solution for developers than the proprietary Apex language that Salesforce.com now offers. Of course Google App Engine is the most direct competition to Beanstalk, as it too supports Java. App Engine supports Python as well. Plus, don't forget about Microsoft Azure for .Net developers and the smaller cloud platform providers such as Engine Yard, which provides Ruby development in the cloud.
With all that competition, why do I believe Amazon.com will drive Elastic Beanstalk for the win? The core concern for platform providers is having auto-expandable storage and compute resources for cloud applications. The development platform itself is less of an issue. AWS has already solved the resource-scaling problem. Enterprises love free, and most companies will appreciate the idea of cloud providers giving away the development services at no cost, charging for only the resources used, and presenting a big bill only when the application goes into production.
This article, "Elastic Beanstalk solves the real issue of cloud platforms: Resource scaling," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.