StandingCloud offers web hosts a white label app store
The app store has become a pretty universally understood model for acquiring software, thanks to the across-the-board adoption of smartphones, and their approach to customization. not surprisingly, the app store has made its way into the web hosting world.
In a hosting environment, these marketplaces allow customers to pick and choose specific apps, create modular configurations, and update and back up apps with a click. the format is designed to be easy enough for the basic user that wants to install Drupal or WordPress for a blog, but can enable an experienced user to deploy server images to create a bespoke cloud environment.
While web hosts have used third-party services like the Softaculous auto-installer for years, the increasing force of the app store model has led to new, emerging options hosting providers can white-label. They are finding their way into the various layers of the hosting ecosystem as software platforms like Windows Server and Parallels build in app stores. In general, the app store model is impacting everything from plug-in installation to the creating and distributing of server images for cloud server deployments.
Web hosts that haven’t embraced app stores yet may be looking to do so soon since Amazon launched its AWS Marketplace in April, an online store for customers to deploy software and services. the online store is populated with SaaS solutions that run in the AWS cloud. Though many web hosts are aiming away from competing with Amazon directly, solutions like UShareSoft or StandingCloud make it possible for even the smallest web hosting and cloud providers to deliver some of that functionality.
“Amazon marketplace is setting the trend for app stores – it’s good that Amazon is taking that step as one of the cloud leaders, which is obviously putting pressure on other cloud providers to do the same,” James Weir, chief technical officer and co-founder of UShareSoft says in a phone interview with the WHIR. “But [other cloud providers] don’t have the same deep pockets or manpower to actually do that, so they’re looking for technology to actually help them get there. We believe our platform is potentially providing this app store because it’s a white-labeled app store and it provides you that first step into this world.”
Launched in 2008, UShareSoft was created with the goal of simplifying software delivery. created by former Sun Microsystems employees, UShareSoft is headquartered in France with offices in Argentina and Japan. Weir says the next stop is the US, where it has existing partners including Rackspace, AWS, and Abiquo.
“our vision is all about modeling the software stack. the stack is the operating system, it includes potentially some middleware, and some application software. if you go into the Amazon Marketplace today you see these stacks that have already been created by various people,” Weir says.
“In the Amazon Marketplace, for example, these are black box, already-made images that have been created by someone you know or someone you don’t know. One of the big problems is that’s a black box so you can’t actually see what’s inside there, in terms of licensing information, in terms of packages that have been used to create that stack,” Weir says. “In our platform we are providing for the first time the ability for a cloud provider to provide those tools to enterprises to be able to make their cloud enterprise-friendly. For the first time an enterprise can actually build from the ground up his custom stack using tools to make it predictable and consistent with the push of a button be able to generate that and push it directly into the cloud platform.”
Weir describes the UShareSoft app store, UForge, as a factory that allows customers to clone, share, and regenerate models of stacks to clouds. the app store has an element of collaboration as well, since users can not only publish stacks into the public app store, but allow others to clone and expand on them.
UForge allows users to push apps to clouds operated by different service providers. Customers that want a hybrid cloud solution can push software to a CloudStack and an Amazon cloud, for example. This eliminates vendor lock-in, says Weir, and can lower the exit strategy costs for enterprises. In addition to being cloud platform agnostic, the platform is OS agnostic.
Another app store option for web hosts is Standing Cloud. Standing Cloud launched its app marketplace for cloud service providers at the beginning of May, and has partnerships with about 17 cloud providers, including most recently adding support for HP Cloud. at the end of April, cloud hosting provider VPS.NET launched an app store built on Standing Cloud technology.
Dave Jilk, CEO of Standing Cloud, says in an interview with the WHIR that the most popular applications include content management systems like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Developer tools and stacks are probably the least popular use for its platform, he says.
Standing Cloud marketplace automatically upgrades apps with one click, according to Jilk.
“it does a bunch of other stuff like backups automatically, and auto-restores if you want to. if something happens to your VM it will bring it up again. if something is wrong with the providers data center it will bring it up in another data center from the same provider so that your website or your application is not down for very long. it helps you manage your application without having to put much work in it and not having to have any skill or knowledge.”
Talk back: do you have a cloud app store? have you partnered with a third-party provider to white-label it? Which one? Let us know in the comments section.
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