Interview: Jelastic CEO – Ruslan Synytsky on growing PaaS market and how PaaS with Containerization-as-a-Service will benefit the customers.

7 Mins read

Containers offer a convenient form of application packaging. Combined with appropriate PaaS solutions, containers can highly automate certain IT provisioning processes.” – Ruslan Synytsky, CEO, Jelastic.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) has been increasingly favored by the enterprise development teams owing to streamlined application management, lower costs and faster time to market.  In addition to PaaS, technologies like Containers also play a significant role in application development.

PaaS and containers have a symbiotic relationship with many PaaS offerings making use of Linux based containers. Containers make PaaS exist and PaaS has the capacity to put containers on the map, giving enterprise developers a complete set of new possibilities.

As a result, there have been several developments across containerization technology from leading software firm Docker to technology giant like Microsoft launching SQL servers with Linux and Docker support.

There are also some enterprises that offer a single turnkey solution combining the power of PaaS and CaaS for maximum flexibility in application development.

Jelastic – one of the leading names in cloud technology providers, combines the power of PaaS and CaaS in a single package, having the capacity to unleash full potential of cloud for ISVs, enterprises, hosting service providers and developers.

It’s not a simple hosting platform, rather a complete infrastructure with PaaS functionality, smart orchestration, and support for containers.

Recently, the company launched version 5.3 (Cerebro) of its PaaS, with support for IPv6 and the latest containerization technologies.

We got in touch with its CEO – Ruslan Synytsky to discuss the rising PaaS market, its turnkey PaaS and CaaS solution and much more. Here’s the interview:

1.Can you please share with us how Jelastic offerings have changed over the years? Specifically, how its Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Containerization as a Service (CaaS) offerings in a single package help address the complexity associated with cloud deployments?

Jelastic was founded in early 2011 and from the very beginning we positioned ourselves as a true Java platform (“Jelastic” is acronym of Java and elastic), but step by step we’ve added support for PHP, Ruby, Node.js , Python and .NET. This enables developers to deploy, scale and manage a variety of applications in the cloud, regardless of the specific programming language or software stack.

Initially, our platform was built to support containerization (Virtuozzo). So when Docker technology evolved, we already had a strong expertise in this sphere and seamlessly added support for the Docker standard within our platform.

We’ve always targeted developers through hosting service vendors – never selling our own hardware but partnering with service providers worldwide. Using this unique model we’ve managed to offer Jelastic in 28 countries. We have also created a private cloud offering, and our platform can be now installed on premise or as virtual private cloud on any IaaS. And finally, we moved to hybrid and multi-cloud options, so our clients can mix and match different cloud combinations and vendors managing a full installation within a single panel.

Every year we have about five releases adding new features and improvements based on the needs of our customers and the latest IT innovations, so we are constantly changing and enhancing our product.

2. Nearly every hosting company in the market is offering IaaS in one way or the other. How does Jelastic prove to be a differentiating factor for their hosting provider partners?

IaaS is great but not enough for the current customers. They want more automation, built-in tools for development, and management capabilities. Usual VPS becomes commodity. That is why service providers are starting to increasingly look to PaaS.

Jelastic is a robust solution combining the benefits of PaaS and CaaS in a single turnkey package. It simplifies complex cloud-based deployments by automating the creation, scaling, clustering and security updates of microservices (cloud-native) or monolithic (legacy) applications. Jelastic’s vertical scaling approach allows hosting service providers to differentiate by offering a unique pricing model where customers pay only for what they use, as opposed to paying for pre-defined capacity limits that may not be used.

The platform supports a wide range of programming languages, a variety of software stacks, Docker and different tools for continuous integration and delivery, monitoring and troubleshooting out-of-box. So customers get a full featured package, while hosting providers don’t need to worry about extra integrations.

Jelastic was designed specifically for hosting service providers, helping them grow successful hosting businesses. After installing Jelastic, hosting providers get a full kit for cluster management and customer support, as well as access to Jelastic’s professional services team. We not only deliver an out-of-the-box solution but also share with the knowledge, expertise, and skills essential for success with our partners.

We take responsibility for Jelastic deployment, configuration and necessary customization. We provide support training, marketing and sales training and access to the Jelastic Partners Portal which includes a set of unique frameworks that help our hosting service partners boost their sales and generate superior revenue.

3. How does Jelastic provide developers with control over their environment? How exactly it helps developers address challenges in migrating apps from VMs to containers?

Developers can deploy and run different applications almost instantly on Jelastic, with no code changes. The deployment can be easily performed using GIT/SVN with automatic updates, archives (zip, war, ear) right from the dev panel or via integrated plugins like Maven, Eclipse, NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA.

Our self-service portal with user-friendly UI includes an intuitive application topology wizard, deployment manager, access to log and config files and a marketplace with prepackaged applications and functionality for team collaboration. SSH Gateway is available for access to the containers. Also, the Jelastic API and command-line interface (CLI) are open for automation of certain processes.

In terms of migration from VMs, if you have a complex legacy architecture on one server, you need to change it to a more modular approach in order to migrate to containers. A big advantage is that when moving to Jelastic-based containers, there is no need to change application code. If developers are familiar with container concept they can build complex projects with deep customization and specific interconnections across services. For unfamiliar developers, Jelastic hides all complexity and automates most of the process through pre-packaged solutions.

4. Please shed some light on Jelastic Zero Code Change Deployment.

Many Platform as a Service providers use the so-called Twelve-Factor App that provides a specific methodology for developers to follow when building modern web-based applications. This approach requires code changes when it comes to migrating legacy applications from virtual machines to containers.

With Jelastic, developers are not forced to use any specific standards and redesign applications. Also, they don’t need to modify their code to a proprietary API in order to deploy applications to the cloud. Developers can get their projects up and running in just minutes using, for example, war file or just the link to the project in GitHub. This makes the entry point easier and more seamless, reducing go-to-market time and eliminating vendor lock-in.

5. Why is containerization crucial for DevOps, what are the challenges and how does Jelastic PaaS help in overcoming them?

With containerization, DevOps teams can focus on their priorities – the Ops team preparing containers with all needed dependencies and configurations; and the Dev team focusing on the efficient coding of easily deployable applications and services.

Containers offer a convenient form of application packaging. Combined with appropriate PaaS solutions, containers can highly automate certain IT provisioning processes, thus eliminating human errors, accelerating time to market and enabling more efficient resource utilization.

6. Jelastic has recently launched the PaaS Cerebro 5.3 version – can you please tell us about its new features? How is it different from the previous versions?

Jelastic Cerebro 5.3 launched with support for Public IPv6. This most recent version of Internet Protocol fulfills the need for more web addresses, simplifies processing by routers, and eliminates NAT (Network Address Translation) issues and private address collisions. IPv6 can be used alongside IPv4, and can be easily enabled via environment topology UI or via an API.

Also, Jelastic PaaS users can now attach multiple IP addresses (IPv6 and IPv4) to a single container, adjust their number or swap them if required. This supports even greater utility from the cloud, for example, by running several websites on a single node.

In addition, we recently announced native support for Java EE 8 and Java SE 9. So Jelastic customers can easily install managed Docker containers with GlassFish 5 and Payara 5, in order to benefit from the latest Java EE 8 improvements.

7. For hosting providers considering different cloud and container platforms, what are Jelastic pricing and feature benefits that should consider?

Jelastic is a ready-to-go cloud PaaS business. We let hosting service providers differentiate among competitors by selling full featured PaaS, Docker hosting, auto-scalable VPS and wide variety of packaged clustered solutions (like Magento, WordPress, replicated SQL and NoSQL databases, etc) to their customers. Also, we provide all the needed tools to manage the platform, support customers, and monitor ROI growth. One of the core Jelastic differentiators is our pricing model for end users (developers), which allows hosting service providers to offer a “pay as you really use” system, versus charging for a capacity limit that is never hit by customer.

We practice a revenue sharing model, so our own growth totally depends on the business performance of our partners. This creates a unique atmosphere – in fact, we become one team with each of our partners, sharing the same values, striving to grow our joint business, and helping each other to conquer new markets and customers together.

8. Thanks Ruslan for giving us insights about Jelastic. Wrapping up, you recently attended JavaOne conference and a lot of other conferences are lined up for Jelastic this fall – DockerCon, OVH Summit and more. Can you give us a sneak peak of what Jelastic plans are for the next 12 months? Is there a specific strategy or demographic that Jelastic is targeting?

Yes, we are trying to actively interact with the developers community in order to hear their pains and find the best solutions. Our main strategy is to keep promulgating freedom of choice in cloud hosting – from technology toolkit to hosting locations. That’s why we’ll continue partnering with leading hosting service providers worldwide, to offer users even wider choice of data centers with a high level of local support. Also, Jelastic will continue implementing new features and improvements connected with containerization and DevOps process automation.

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