Appistry Opens the Cloud to (Almost) All Apps

appistry_logo_277x300Enterprise adoption is the Holy Grail for cloud computing software vendors, and Appistry is prepping to play the role of Sir Galahad. The St. Louis-based company today released its new CloudIQ Manager product,which offers the ability to port nearly any enterprise application to the cloud, and makes it easy to move applications between both in-house and public clouds.

As more companies move toward operating in the cloud, Appistry sees lack of support for existing as a huge gap in the market, particularly for enterprise customers that have hundreds of Java, .NET, C/C++ or legacy applications apps they need to move to the cloud. “They haven’t found an application management approach that allows them to easily get there,” says Sam Charrington, Appistry’s VP of product management and marketing. Most current cloud offerings are designed for Web applications or single-application deployments; that means they’re optimal for web startups and SaaS providers, but not as useful for larger, enterprise customers.

CloudIQ Manager aims to solve this enterprise-readiness problem by letting customers create service definition templates that tell the software how to manage each existing application’s lifecycle (i.e., how it’s installed, started, stopped, etc.) — all from a single interface. Templates and configurations for deploying common application types (Apache or Tomcat, for example) will be available in a user-driven library and will save new users the legwork required to establish best practices.

Compared with VMware’s widely publicized hybrid cloud tools, the difference is in the focus: VMware focuses on managing and deploying virtual machines, whereas Appistry focuses on the application. While the entire application stack is locked up in the virtual machine in VMware’s model, Charrington says CloudIQ Manager users can update VMs with impunity because the resources are completely abstracted from the application. Elastra recently announced its hybrid cloud plans, too.

CloudIQ manager offers limited intercloud portability, as well, via a drag-and-drop functionality within the console. Users will be able to move their apps between and among both in-house clouds and Appistry’s public cloud partners, which currently include Amazon (s AMZN), GoGrid and Skytap.

However, there are still many interoperability issues between the public cloud offerings, and this product only addresses “practical portability” of applications. Charrington notes that the cloud-to-cloud migration feature is designed initially to ensure applications get migrated and deployed successfully in test-dev environments; over time, he says, it will evolve to address production-level concerns like intercloud load-balancing.

Appistry recently announced 200 percent year-over-year growth, which Charrington attributes in large part to its existing products’ cloud computing capabilities. Given the positive reports I’ve heard from other cloud vendors thus far in 2009, I won’t be too surprised if Appistry’s CloudIQ Platform suite — the new moniker for version 4.0 of its flagship software — has an almost immediate impact on the company’s bottom line.