Industry News Desk
FedEx Deploys an Appistry Cloud
FedEx has built a private cloud using Appistry, an early pioneer in cloud computing, and its CloudIQ application platform
Jul. 14, 2009 01:30 PM
FedEx has built a private cloud using Appistry, an early pioneer in cloud computing, and its CloudIQ application platform.
Like most folks, FedEx integrated the cloud into its development and testing environment first to shorten test and deployment times and save money.
According to FedEx senior technical architect Mike Rains, the company wanted to escape HP's pricey HP-UX-based Superdome machines for a more distributed, horizontally scalable architecture.
It was only getting 20% utilization out of the HP boxes, which had to be replaced every three-four years to stay current. So FedEx shopped around and found Appistry, which has let it switch to cheap commodity hardware and add components as needed.
Rains describes the price difference CPU to CPU as "quite substantial" and says the processing performance of FedEx' mission-critical applications has improved.
It's also using Linux.
FedEx makes little use of Windows across the enterprise, preferring HP-UX and now Linux.
Deploying a cloud has simplified support because the company is now using standardized hardware and operating systems plus the Appistry utilities.
Rains says the Appistry architecture is relatively easy to understand and implement although the cloud requires a change in mind set.
The new widgetry has allowed FedEx to "divide the elephant," he said, using a "scatter/gather" approach to application development, "atomizing" projects into smaller parts that are easier for coders to understand, especially developers new to the projects, and shortening the development cycle because there are fewer lines to code, ultimately simplifying the code migration path to production.
And the cloud's as-needed scalability means FedEx doesn't outgrow its servers. It can also apply different system architectures in the same cloud.
The approach has let FedEx standardize common interfaces so it doesn't have to constantly reinvent the wheel. So developers can focus on the business logic.
Rains called implementation "almost silly it's so easy." He described the automatic provisioning as a "big deal."
Since FedEx deployed a private cloud it doesn't have the privacy concerns raised by a public cloud like Amazon. FedEx owns and operates all of the infrastructure.
Appistry's platform was designed specifically for cloud environments and is supposed to deliver transparent scalability, application portability and automated management to new and existing applications.