Jelastic, a Java and PHP platform-as-a-service (PaaS) specialist, recently launched a new version of its offering, Jelastic 1.9.2, with a series of new features designed to make it easier to develop and deploy applications.
With its new approach to Java and PHP hosting, Jelastic offers a zero-code-change cloud hosting platform, which means that there is no need to learn custom systems or recode applications in order to deploy. The Jelastic PaaS is available through multiple hosting providers worldwide.
Competing in the hotly contested PaaS space, Jelastic provides frequent updates of its solution. The company released Jelastic 1.9.1 in May and just delivered new features and improvements in version 1.9.2, including Git and SVN auto-deploy, where Jelastic users can set immediate or periodic automatic deployment of their projects based on the changes they have committed via the Git or Subversion repository and increase their productivity. There also is a new search box that developers can use right from the dashboard to get the answers to the questions they are most interested in.
The new release also supports PHP 5.5, so in addition to using PHP 5.3 and 5.4, PHP developers can work with the latest version of PHP when developing for Jelastic. "Users can modify the type of stack that they're using with a straightforward selection via the drop-down list," Amy Armitage, director of marketing at Jelastic, wrote in a blog post on the new release.
Another key change is support for scheduling MongoDB database backups. Now Jelastic users can plan not just MySQL and MariaDB backups, but in addition, schedule MongoDB backups with a handful of clicks, Armitage said.
"Every day, we listen to the feedback of our Web hosting partners and also the members of our ever-growing community," Dmitry Sotnikov, chief operating officer at Jelastic, said in a statement. "In this release, we have implemented so many of the requested features and changes. Some highlights include Git and SVN Auto-deploy, FTP and FTPS access to database servers, scheduling MongoDB backups, a handy search box and loads more. We want to see how much more productive users can be on our cloud platform."
As Sotnikov indicated, other new features in Jelastic 1.9.2 include FTP and FTPS access to database servers. Jelastic has been providing FTP/FTPS access to application servers for a long time. Now this feature has been expanded to all database servers. Users get an easy and reliable way of file sharing and data transfer to and from their database servers in their Jelastic environments, including local backup files.
The new release also gives developers the ability to change GC, -Xmx, -Xms setting. This update enables users to configure memory settings and set custom parameters for their Java containers. Developers also gain the ability to deploy PHP projects from the Git repository with sub-modules or dependencies added. They can select the project they need and get everything else retrieved and deployed automatically.
In addition, Jelastic 1.9.2 gives developers the ability to assign an internal IP address to virtual dedicated server (VDS) components. "Jelastic VDS is a full-root-access virtual private server (VPS) that customers may use for just about any additional components their particular applications may need such as back-end servers, console applications, email servers and backup servers," Armitage said. "Right now, users have the capacity to allocate such servers not just publicly but additionally with a private IP address."
Meanwhile, taking the needs of Web hosting providers into account, Jelastic improved its Jelastic Cluster Admin, the back-end administration tool for hosters, by adding email localization, different groups creation, an auto recharge option and application packaging management features to simplify provider-side work.
Moreover, hosting providers can now set bonus percentages for their users from the first payment if they convert and replenish the account during a specified time. High availability of the system was increased by using multiple resolvers, which receive requests simultaneously. There is new billing and single sign-on integration, and APIs have been improved not only to cover full integration for standard off-the-shelf billing systems, but also homegrown solutions. In addition, there is new built-in integration for trial email campaigns. And a new firewall for end users' containers helps prevent unauthorized Secure Shell (SSH) access and defend hosting providers' data against various brute-force or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, rootkits and botnets.
So Jelastic tries to make it easier for both the developer and the hoster.
"Development isn't all that different in the cloud," Forrester analyst James Staten wrote in a late 2012 blog post forecasting the cloud outlook for this year. "There are no cloud-specific or cloud-best languages. Our cloud developer survey shows that the majority of languages, frameworks and development methodologies we use in the enterprise are also in use in the cloud.
"What's different isn't the coding but the services orientation and the need to configure the application to provide its own availability and performance," Staten continued in his posting. "And, frankly, this isn't all that new either. We've had to worry about these aspects with our Websites since 2000. While some of the best practices and cloud services may be new, there are few excuses for a well-trained developer to not be productive in the cloud. So what are you waiting for?"
Staten's Forrester analyst colleague, Mike Gualtieri, supported that argument and said: "Forget the vendors and programming language charlatans that want you to think the cloud development is different. You already have the skills and design sensibility to make it work. In some cases, you may have to learn some new APIs just like you have had to for years. The bottom line: You've got cloud skills already. Use them."
Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC, said the PaaS market is heating up in what might be seen as round two, the first round being three to four years ago when very early solutions first came out. Some did not make it like Dabble DB and Coghead, others persevered through and hit some success—such as through acquisitions, he said.
"We think this is an exciting area that will see growth and a great deal of partnership and merger activities over the next couple of years," Hilwa said. "In just the last few months, we have seen LongJump, Rollbase and AppFog get acquired by larger players. I have tabulated over 50 offerings in this space with varying architectural approaches and value propositions and have talked to over 40 of them in recent days. Some two-thirds are nascent offerings from small players."
For its part, Jelastic is a rising star in Russia and is beginning to spread its wings internationally, Hilwa said. "Their technology is relatively advanced, but all players in this field have big R&D agendas to make it through and the tech giants are waking up and moving into this space aggressively," he said. "As the move to cloud becomes broader across the industry, these players stand to benefit."
In 2011, Jelastic launched as a PaaS provider for Java applications. In 2013, the company added PHP cloud hosting to their service options. Jelastic has data centers and hosting partners in 11 countries and 55,000 users on the platform.