AppScale wants to make it so the web and mobile apps you build are truly mobile. That means if you construct them on a given cloud platform you are not married to that platform for life when it comes to deploy and run them. AppScale focuses on providing a way to migrate or fail over apps to another cloud, or even your own servers, as needed. That minimizes that knotty problem of lock-in, which is there if you scratch the surface of any IT team.
The company, one of GigaOM’s Structure LaunchPad finalists, aims to help all the folks wanting to wring the most out of their own code and data by making it available either to employees inside the firewall or beyond to customers, said AppScale CTO and co-founder Chandra Krintz. And PaaSes like Heroku, Google App Engine, Microsoft Windows Azure, et al, are a great way to build these applications. The problem is that all of those PaaSes are beyond the control of corporate IT.
“The only deployment option is on someone else’s resources — that means you lose the control of your data and you face disruption if those PaaSes go down or they change their APIs or the pricing model,” says Krintz in a recent interview. Ask any Heroku customer who crashed and burned during Amazon’s U.S. East snafus last year and you’ll find someone who really wishes they had a back-up option.
AppScale says it opens up those deployment options. “We support the execution [of your app] everywhere — on private, on public and on hybrid cloud,” Krintz said.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based AppScale is first putting Google App Engine front and center by “fully mirroring” key GAE APIs. That means it could be an invaluable tool to the applications built and running on GAE itself. That means applications such as teen-sensation SnapChat as well as MyLowe’s and Best Buy Rewards, could use AppScale to run inside their company’s own data center or even on Amazon Web Services. Or execution can be divvied up between those venues.
The GAE functionality is in beta now. Once it’s fully cooked, the company will evaluate other popular PaaSes. “We want to be the Swiss Army Knife but we’re initially focused on early customers and GAE,” said AppScale CEO and co-founder Woody Rollins. It helps to focus at first and GAE provides enough customers to get a good feel for the task at hand, plus Google has been extremely supportive of the effort, Rollins said. “The big objection they get [from prospective customers] is the notion of lock-in. AppScale solves that problem for them,” he said.
Come check out Appscale at GigaOM’s Structure event in San Francisco on June 20th.