The Cloud Foundry Blog

Anchora Brings Cloud Foundry Core Instance to China

A fast growing mobile apps market alongside the increasing need for a unified enterprise private cloud platform requires a new generation of open PaaS solutions in China.

In this guest blog, Wei-Min Lu, founder and CEO of Anchora, explains why Anchora selected Cloud Foundry as the basis for its MoPaaS platform and why it chose to join Cloud Foundry Core.

Test MoPaaS for Cloud
Foundry Core Compatibility here.

Today we are excited to join Cloud Foundry Core as proof of our commitment to cloud application portability across a choice of public and private clouds. Here in China, there is growing demand for an open PaaS that enables developers to build mobile applications and enterprises to build private or dedicated clouds. We built MoPaaS, a cloud application engine based on the Cloud Foundry service platform. Cloud Foundry gives us the flexibility to offer both a public cloud platform with extensions for mobile and data applications and a private/dedicated PaaS solution that integrates with enterprises’ existing infrastructure. We also provide services within Cloud Foundry applications allowing enterprises to take advantage of big data infrastructure for use cases like cloud storage and synchronization, analytics and search.

The Need for Open PaaS in China

It is projected that PaaS will grow at 30% annually over the next few years. Higher growth is expected to occur in China due to 1) a rapidly expanding mobile application market requiring an agile back-end services platform and 2) the need for cloud application portability and the rise of applications taking advantage of big data infrastructure in the enterprise.

China is now the world’s biggest smart phone market with 390 million units projected to be sold this year – more than 1/3 of smart phones to be sold globally in 2013. Businesses of all sizes are looking to take advantage of this trend, increasing the number of mobile apps by 35% annually. There is a growing need for an agile platform with additional services required for mobile applications, such as push notification, geospatial data storage and short message services. Due to the limited resources on the client device, mobile applications require a platform that is able to process large quantities of data in the cloud. A new generation of Open PaaS is needed to handle additional mobile-specific requirements.

With more than 70% of companies implementing PaaS over the next two years, we see emerging needs for PaaS solutions in the China enterprise IT market to consolidate existing applications and infrastructure while building an ecosystem of new enterprise applications in a consistent and unified manner. Enterprise application portability is increasingly becoming a critical need – businesses expect to be able to move their applications for optimal service, regulatory compliance, and data privacy requirements. As enterprises are realizing the impact and starting to build apps to take advantage of big data, there is an urgent need for more sophisticated platform services with big data infrastructure. This includes scalable services for log analysis, cloud storage and synchronization, information clustering, analytics, and customized search.

Building a Public PaaS Using Cloud Foundry

We built MoPaaS to serve developers’ needs to create applications and services without worrying about backend IT tasks. It helps them simplify and automate application lifecycle management, including development, deployment, and operation, significantly reducing IT infrastructure expenditures and devops costs and time. MoPaaS is built on an intelligent cloud service platform infrastructure that consists of two integrated parts:

  • Service platform: extends the Cloud Foundry service platform to provide better support for mobile applications, platform monitoring and management, and service extensibility.
  • Data platform: based on innovative information chain management (ICM) technology. It offers a simple interface for developers to support data driven applications.

CF_Core_Fig01

Fig 1. MoPaaS Cloud Application Engine Architecture

MoPaaS provides necessary devops automation, masks complexities from developers and enhances usability by offering additional functions:

  • UI: providing ease of use for developers of various levels and a CLI providing more flexibility and control for experienced developers. Developers can use the MoPaaS UI for devops tasks like application deployment and performing resource allocation.
  • MDSS (mass data storage service): a high performance distributed storage system that provides cloud storage for user data and application source code management.
  • Application monitoring and management: a streamlined visual tool and web console for monitoring and managing applications, services, and environment variables.
  • MoPaaS Services: Mobile specific services, such as notifications, short messages, and locations etc. Data services, such as scalable services for log analysis, cloud storage and synchronization, information clustering, and customized search.

Building an Enterprise PaaS Solution Using Cloud Foundry

MoPaaS also provides an intelligent IaaS-PaaS solution for enterprises and service providers to build dedicated clouds to boost service agility, reduce IT expenditures and devops costs while increasing the portability, scalability and reliability of enterprise applications. This solution offers necessary granular controls and customer configuration flexibility provided by IaaS and the devops automation and ease of app creation provided by PaaS. The MoPaas architecture strictly separates PaaS from IaaS services.

CF_Core_Fig02

Fig 2. MoPaaS Intelligent Cloud Platform

In addition to the services offered by Cloud Foundry, MoPaaS offers a comprehensive array of data services as native Cloud Foundry services and integrates various legacy services.

CF_Core_Fig03

Fig 3. MoPaaS Services

MoPaaS effectively addresses a wide range of the enterprise cloud platform requirements, including:

  • Application consolidation: there is a need for building and running an ecosystem of enterprise applications on a cloud-based platform in a consistent and unified manner. However, many of the applications in enterprises have been around for quite some time and were not designed for the cloud. Among the key requirements, legacy services used by those applications need to be integrated into the cloud platform or upgraded to new services of the cloud platform. MoPaaS addresses the application consolidation and migration issues effectively, as the MoPaaS platform not only supports basic services, but also adds new data services to meet enterprise big data requirements using Cloud Foundry service gateway and seamlessly integrates legacy services used by existing applications, such as Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2 using Cloud Foundry service broker (Figure 3).

  • Data platform: Big data has increasingly become top of mind across organizations, from the data center to the boardroom. Companies are seeking systems and tools capable of tackling the challenges of massive data growth. Integrated with Hadoop-based Information Chain Management (ICM) data services, MoPaaS enables organizations to deploy a central platform to solve end-to-end data problems that involve any combination of information ingestion, processing, storage, exploration, analytics, and retrieval. With MoPaaS enterprise developers can easily integrate sophisticated big data services with their applications as native Cloud Foundry services. These include log analysis, cloud storage and synchronization, information clustering, and customized search. In addition, with ICM data services, MoPaaS provides new capability for monitoring and managing applications on the cloud platform.

  • Application portability: MoPaas architecture strictly separates PaaS from IaaS services. MoPaaS furnishes applications with an infrastructure-agnostic execution method, standardizes the method of exposing services such as databases, messaging and queuing, runtime, and management, and standardizes service credentials across runtimes. Thus MoPaaS keeps the applications portable in case they need to move the PaaS layer and application services to another infrastructure provider. Additionally, MoPaaS ICM mechanism enables automatic application data transferring along with the associated applications via its data synchronization service. Developers don’t have to worry about infrastructure-specific requirements for their applications, because the MoPaaS platform takes care of these concerns for them.

Summary

The initial success of Cloud Foundry-based PaaS providers demonstrates the strength of the Cloud Foundry open PaaS solution and the power of its open source ecosystem and community. This is a win for everyone invested in the success of Cloud Foundry.

We are excited to become the first company in China to join the Cloud Foundry Core community. By being a member of the Core ecosystem, Anchora is committed to the open PaaS concept and delivering cloud portability to Chinese application developers and service providers.

About the Author: Wei-Min Lu is the founder and CEO of Anchora. Anchora provides both MoPaaS, a public open cloud platform with extensions for mobile and data applications, and a dedicated PaaS solution that facilitates application consolidation and cloud platform portability for enterprises. Dr. Lu has over 15 years experience in product development and marketing. Before he founded Anchora in 2008, he served in key engineering and management positions at IBM and NASA-JPL. His background is in cloud computing, cybernetics, machine learning, information retrieval and storage technologies. Dr. Lu holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering/Math from CalTech and a B.Sc. from Tsinghua University, China.

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