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Engine Yard plugs multiple IaaS players into back end

PaaS lets your app skip between clouds

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Platform-as-a-service Engine Yard has expanded its technical capabilities so developers can rapidly switch their apps between multiple infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds.

The announcement telegraphs a shift away from cloud king Amazon Web Services by allowing customers to select the underlying IaaS cloud they want their PaaS to run on.

Engine Yard is already running on what it calls its "infrastructure abstraction layer," giving it the ability to switch between Amazon Web Services and Verizon.

As of Tuesday, a few chosen companies can select which of the two clouds they want their apps to run on as part of a phased introduction, and the feature will become generally available soon.

Engine Yard is also in talks to allow it to run across even more infrastructure-as-a-service clouds.

"We have discussions ongoing with others," senior veep for operations for the PaaS Bill Platt told The Register. "The number [of other clouds] is based on what our customer base wants, and that will develop as the year goes on".

Engine Yard received a hefty investment from Oracle in November but did not respond to The Reg's questions about whether it would eventually support Oracle's public cloud as well.

Other platform-as-a-services run atop single clouds, either owned by their operator – Google App Engine, Windows Azure – or on the vast Amazon Web Service data center farm. Multi-cloud capability is part of an overall shift by Engine Yard to what it calls a "flexible and modular architecture".

This new approach to platform-as-a-service makes it possible to add new applications into an existing Engine Yard app. For example, Engine Yard provides MySQL as its default database, but with the new system customers using an Oracle database could swap it in instead, Platt said.

As for scale, Engine Yard says it has around 12,000 to 20,000 instances – that is, applications – running on it at any one time. These are real, working, production applications, Platt said, which amount to a load of tens of millions of requests per minute.

Given the worldwide storage outage that befell Windows Azure last week, The Register's cloud desk thinks an easy way to switch a running app onto other services would be reassuring to cloud devs, insofar as it lets you quickly deal with a massive failure in one IaaS cloud. But it doesn't get around the issue of a problem occurring inside Engine Yard's own technical stack – a problem which emerged at Salesforce-backed Heroku two weeks ago. ®

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