February 28, 2017

When it comes to application development these days there is no shortage of platform-as-a-service environments. The latest open source entrant in the category comes from Eldarion, which this week announced that it is making Kel available. Kel is a PaaS environment available as an open source PaaS that runs on top of the Kubernetes container orchestration framework.

Dubbed Kel, Eldarion CEO James Tauber says Kubernetes makes it possible for Eldarion and others that opt to contribute to Kel to now focus their efforts on the workflow application layer of the PaaS that now rides on top of Kubernetes.

Originally optimized for Django and Python applications, Kel now also supports Node.js. With the help of the open source community Eldarion plans to also focus on integrating Kel with third party products. The actual PaaS itself is written in Python and Go. The major components of Kel include cluster management tools, authentication, routing software and a set of REST application programming interfaces.

In addition, Tauber notes that Build Packs created for the Heroku PaaS environment owned by Salesforce can also run on a Kel PaaS that can be deployed on premise or in the cloud.

Eldarion is also letting it be known that it will end support for Gondor on September 2nd of this year. In its place, there will be offering a new service called Eldarion Cloud that will be based on Kel. However, Eldarion plans to encourage entry level customers to deploy Kel on their own with Eldarion Cloud intended to be more of a “white glove” cloud service managed by Eldarion.

While it’s hard to say that any one PaaS environment dominates the application development landscape today, in terms of open source the biggest player is clearly the Cloud Foundry project. At the same time, however, the Heroku cloud platform as a substantial following. Whether there is room for other alternative remains to be seen. Tauber notes that in the age of frameworks optimized for containers, Kel itself is designed to be a lite-weight PaaS for managing the entire software deployment lifecycle. In contrast, Cloud Foundry is based on an older code base that has a lot more moving parts that ultimately serve to add more weight to the overall IT environment. Because of those issues Tauber says Eldarion is betting that Kel will appeal to a new generation of application developers building greenfield applications.

Whatever path IT organizations choose, the platform itself often winds up defining the application development process. Because of that reason a PaaS environment is often a hit or miss proposition with many IT organizations. Adopting that PaaS often requires them to change their processes in a way that may be better, but winds up being a major cultural challenge. At the same time, however, the rise of agile programming methodologies means applications are being deployed faster across more systems than ever. The IT operations challenge that creates is substantial enough that it’s only a matter of time before most IT organizations at the very least start to reevaluate the manual processes far too many still rely on today.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.