I recently came across an interesting tool. Jelastic is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider for Java. Basically, it’s a cloud for Java applications.
The most interesting point about Jelastic (in my opinion) is the fact that it can run any Java application. There are no API to use or special change that have to be made: you can take any Java app that you have and run it on Jelastic. Jelastic runs Glassfish, Tomcat and Jetty application servers. It’s up to the developer to choose the application server. Because it’s only made for Java, you have directly access to the application server where you can deploy to, you don’t have access to the machine itself.
Another great advantage of Jelastic is that it automatically scales vertically. At the beginning, you application is only allowed a very small amount of CPU and memory and when the system detects that it needs more, it automatically gives more resources to the application. And when the application has too much resources, there are released. That has the advantage that you don’t need to worry about the resources of your application and that the costs are to the minimum when the application doesn’t need a lot of resources. Of course, you can also put limits on the scalability. An application can also be run in several different application servers (horizontal scaling). It supports automatic load balancing for the different instances.
A Jelastic environment provides also access to a database server of your choice (MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, CouchDB). It also has several other good features. You can look at the official list if you want a complete list of features.
The official Jelastic site provides several very good guides about how to deploy a specific type of application to Jelastic. For example, there are guides for Play! Framework, Clojure or Alfresco.
The interesting point about Jelastic is that it has been recommended by James Gosling itself (the father of Java):
I really like Jelastic. It’s actually software package that a number of ISPs are using. It’s a Java hosting system and so you don’t get a bare Linux machine. What you get is a JavaEE container, and you can drop WAR files on them and they have this really nice control panel where you get a slider that says how many clones of Glassfish do you want and check boxes for [databases]. You don’t have to go into Linux – Oh my God, what it takes to install anything: it’s like which version of Linux is compatible with which app server and what time… they actually take care of that and it works lovely. I actually built these clusters and they can span multiple ISPs, multiple countries, multiple datacenters, and that’s how I deal with my personal extreme paranoia of the survivability of these things.
James is working in a small startup, Liquid Robotics that handles a set of automatic robots in the ocean.
I think that all these information are making of Jelastic a very good choice for a Java host !