Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sun, Yahoo play on increasingly crowded PaaS field

Yahoo! CTO Ari Balogh presented a new strategy that they are terming Y! OS. Aside from the unification of user profiles across all Yahoo! properties, (more on that later), and the social-networkification that they want to achieve by that, I was struck by what they were terming the Yahoo! Application Platform.

TechCrunch is painting this as a direct competitor to Google App Engine, but I see it more like Facebook. Yahoo! is on board with OpenSocial now, and the apps that Balogh seemed to be talking about were more of that Facebooky, Yahoo-API-mashup kind of thing. Who knows though. He did talk about the ability to host apps, and that TechCrunch article talked about the platform being PHP based, but I didn't hear Balogh say that in the presentation. Maybe I just missed it...

I just started checking out Sun's Project Caroline. Unlike the vaporous Yahoo! offering, this one has actual API documentation, in Javadoc of course. This does look like it is pointed squarely at Amazon, as this article suggests. Will be interesting to see how far along this is, when they will start selling it, etc. What's weird is that apparently there was a presentation at JavaOne last year about this? Must have been all the JavaFX excitement affecting my memory, (cough... cough...), but I recall no coverage of that. There was a presentation though, go figure. Maybe it will get more prominent treatment this year now that PaaS hype is in full affect.

Oh, two more things on the Yahoo! announcement:
  1. Unification of all the profiles. That is going to be an insane PITA. I've worked before, and am currently working on, a single-sign-on, namespace-flattening, centralized authentication/authorization/profile management type of thing and can speak from experience that it is a huge problem, and one that most people do not appreciate the full complexities of when first considering it. Yahoo! has immense resources and talented people, however, so by no means impossible that they can pull this off -- technically.
  2. What are the chances of a big strategy like this actually getting executed though in the current environment?

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