OpDemand service aims to ease IaaS deployments

Developers can choose from a variety of networking, middleware, web and processing templates

OpDemand on Thursday opened its service that automates deployment of cloud infrastructure to all users. The service is free to use initially.

OpDemand was created to make it easier for businesses to use hosted cloud computing services. Gabriel Monroy, OpDemand's CTO, helped start the company after doing cloud consulting work. "During the time I spent helping companies adopt the cloud, I realized the problems they were facing were namely that the tools they had available to them were complicated and exposed a lot of technical detail," he said.

Users of OpDemand's Command & Control (C2) service can choose from a library of preassembled networking, middleware, Web, processing and other templates to compile their software to run in the cloud. The library includes cloud services templates for Ruby on Rails, Django, Node.js and Wordpress as well as databases like CouchDB.

The templates offer a variety of configuration options but they're also open source so users can customize them to fit their needs.

C2 for now is only available for users who wish to run their software on Amazon Web Services.

OpDemand's offering serves developers that may not have all the skills required to use an infrastructure-as-a-service offering but don't want to give up the control necessary when using a platform-as-a-service.

"Some people find value in PaaS," Monroy said. "I'm just not comfortable giving up control over the OS and runtime and being able to select which libraries I want to use. I know a lot of people share that feeling and aren't willing to move away from IaaS. They like the cloud but they don't like the idea of an opaque shared app fabric."

OpenLogic is approaching the same issue from the opposite direction. It has a PaaS offering that aims to give users the flexibility that developers like about IaaS by delivering stacks for Java, Ruby, PHP and JavaScript with platforms based on Rails, Tomcat, LAMP, node.js and nginx.

OpDemand is offering C2 for free for now. It does plan to charge for the service, which itself runs on Amazon Web Services, but doesn't know yet on what basis. "It will be determined by where people find value," Monroy said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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Nancy Gohring

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