By Cassandra Balentine
Organizations increasingly rely on cloud-based solutions and applications (apps) to propel business into the next generation. To help support this migration, software providers develop products to improve processes.
Headquartered in Menlo Park, CA, Qubell is a privately held organization that does not disclose its annual revenue. The company is dedicated to enhancing cloud application development. It offers an autonomic application management platform for cloud applications, which enables them to become adaptive, self-managed services that configure, heal, optimize, and protect themselves in response to changes within dynamic cloud environments.
Established in 2012, the company just announced the availability of this platform, which it says is the first of its kind. The platform is designed for a range of Web, commerce, and big data applications with an emphasis on retail, financial services, and high-tech industries.
Victoria Livschitz, CEO, Qubell, suggests that managing applications as an autonomic system dramatically accelerates application release cycles, improves quality, eliminates manual operations, and reduces outages and operating costs.
The Qubell Autonomic Application Management Platform is designed to differ from conventional DevOps solutions that rely on manual processes to instigate changes and limit automation to fixed blueprints and rigid workflows. Instead, Qubell enables applications to determine when and how to perform routine changes, respond to events, and adapt to new circumstances. The result is a resilient management system designed to act proactively.
The Qubell release is based on market opportunity and the success of current installs. “The Qubell platform has been on the market running some very large installations for over two years,” comments Livschitz. “This time we are taking the technology and doing two things. One, packaging it as a freemium self-sign up model to make it easy for organizations of all sizes to get access and get started; and two, releasing a solution as part of the Qubell platform that is specifically for the Hadoop development community to get out-of-the-box development and test environments on the cloud for big data applications.”
The platform includes a self-service portal that enables developers to package applications as self-managed, adaptive entities and operations teams to define policies that govern how applications integrate and respond to environmental changes. The self-service portal allows users to issue high-level commands such as to launch a new environment or update the latest version, all while providing auditability of changes and visibility over the state of the autonomic system.
The solution also offers a control fabric that continuously monitors the stability of the applications, shapes their response to changes, and executes cascading change requests resulting from commands, events, triggers, failures, or other environmental changes.
Qubell’s autonomic application management platform supports a variety of use cases, including self-service test environments, continuous delivery, continuous live updates, and visibility of configuration changes.
Self-service test environments allow developers to launch and dispose of complete application environments with one click. Livschitz explains that the application figures out how to construct the right sandbox on demand.
For continuous delivery, Qubell works with continuous integration pipeline tools, such as Jenkins, to ensure that right build is tested in the right environment as the new release moves down the delivery pipeline.
To manage continuous live updates, Qubell facilitates safe reconfiguration of affected components as the system adapts to change, or restores them back to the previously stable configuration in the event of issues.
Amidst a constant stream of launches, updates, scaling, or failure recovery events, Qubell offers visibility of configuration changes by maintaining a log of changes for audit and compliance. This lets administrators know the state of any configuration at any time with tools for change visualization, tracking, and audit.
Additionally, the platform offers Qubell for Hadoop Developers the addition of dynamic, cloud-based test environments on demand for new or existing big data analytics projects. “As companies, particularly in retail, financial services, and high-tech industries, invest in big data initiatives, Qubell for Hadoop Developers offers the fastest, easiest way to get started with big data analytics projects and to create, test, and operate new software that drives greater business insight and increases revenue streams,” says Livschitz.
According to the company, the Qubell platform is based on the concept of autonomic computing originated by IBM, which refers to self-managing computing resources adapting to unpredictable changes, while hiding intrinsic complexity to operators and users. The company’s technology is designed to apply IBM’s four criteria of autonomic computing to application management with self-configuring, -optimizing, -healing, and -protecting.
Self-configuration applications configure themselves in accordance with high-level policies pre-defined by administrators. When a new application is launched, Qubell explains that it bootstraps itself within an existing environment and the system adapts to its presence.
Self-optimizing applications detect opportunities to improve themselves and adapt to new changes in their environment. For example, they may parallelize operations to utilize the best resource or upgrade themselves.
Self-healing systems constantly monitor the health of each application. If a problem is detected, it attempts to restore back to a stable configuration. In addition, applications themselves are aware of the changes in their environments and react by reconfiguring or healing themselves.
Self-protecting systems ensure that all changes are authorized based on policies, limits, and access rights set by the operators. Applications protect themselves from attacks and exploits by working with Qubell’s fabric to refuse, contain, and stop unauthorized change requests. The company says that a detailed audit trail further helps to flag, prevent, and investigate unauthorized attempts.
Qubell offers a family of flexible service plans ranging from Qubell Express, which is a freemium edition; to Qubell Business, which starts at $799 per month; and Qubell Enterprise, which is a custom offering. Qubell Express is the free, base product that allows users to take advantage of autonomic application management without risk. Users can sign up online to use within minutes.
The company also offers its Component Bazaar, which is a number of pre-packaged components and complete vertical solutions for Web, commerce, and big data applications. Starter kits for many popular application stacks are available through Qubell’s online community on Github.
The Qubell autonomic application management platform is ideal for companies that develop, deliver, and operate Web technology applications, big data analytics applications based on Hadoop and other tools, and ecommerce applications that use custom enterprise Java and other third-party platforms from Oracle, SAP, IBM, and others.
Qubell’s Autonoic Application Management Platform addresses the needs of both development and operations users, specifically enterprise architects, directors of quality, and directors of operation. SW
Jan2015, Software Magazine