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Kaavo Tips Hat to Amazon's CloudFormation

Amazon Web Services' new CloudFormation offering promises to simplify the development and deployment of applications to its cloud service.

Announced last month, CloudFormation provides sample templates that let developers and system administrators describe various AWS resources such as Amazon EC2 Instances, Elastic Load Balancers, AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) Instances. Amazon refers to the complex combination of resources as "stacks."

That was welcome news to one startup, Stamford, Conn.-based Kaavo, which argues it has a more robust alternative to CloudFormation and hopes it creates demand for its own product, called Kaavo IMOD, which stands for Infrastructure and Middleware on Demand.

"Although this is the first release of CloudFormation Service and it is still in [the] very nascent stages of providing a full application-centric solution, there are a lot of similarities with Kaavo's solution," said Jamal Mazhar, Kaavo's founder and CEO, in a blog post.

The so-called Amazon CloudFormation "stacks" or templates resemble Kaavo's system definitions, according to Mazhar. I spoke with Mazhar who explained Kaavo IMOD can be used in customer datacenters using VMware's vCloud API or Eucalyptus cloud platform software, or in public clouds including those provided by Amazon, Rackspace Hosting, Terremark and IBM.

Kaavo's software, which runs in the cloud, solves two problems, Mazhar explained. First, it automates the deployment of complex applications and configurations. "You can get the server and the storage and network resources from cloud providers within minutes, but it is no fun if you spend days configuring the software and deploying the applications," he said. "What we do is enable you to automatically deploy and configure your complex multi-server applications within minutes."

Second, it allows admins to automate the administration of their sites while responding to pre-defined events. "We give an autopilot framework, where you can define the events and you can preprogram the responses for what to do in case of those events," he said.

For its part, Kaavo is a small, privately funded company employing fewer than 20 people. Mazhar said its core customer base consists of enterprises that are running various pilots and Web 2.0 companies. One such company is SellPoint, a provider of online video tours of consumer products.

Kaavo's pricing starts at $100 per month for two servers running 24x7 with additional server usage costing 6 cents per hour, amounting to $45 per month if it's running 24x7. Customers have to pay for cloud usage separately from their provider.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on March 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM


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