How is PaaS changing application servers?

At Gartner's Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in 2011,'s own Jack Vaughan speaks with Chris Haddad, VP of technology evangelism at WSO2. Chris Haddad explains his idea of what real "cloud-native" cloud architecture means and how this varies from some vendors' "cloud-washed solutions."

According to Haddad, real cloud architecture supports on-demand self service, rapid elasticity, measured service, and resource pooling through multitenant systems that yield advantages of scale. In contrast, Haddad claims that some cloud vendors are offering products that are essentially the same old application servers that have been "cloud-washed" - or modified to emulate cloud features - but have not been altered at a fundamental level to support real change.

"ESBs and application servers need to be refactored to become cloud aware and to be cloud-friendly," says Haddad. He suggests adding provisioning on-ramps to app servers for spinning up servers and to facilitate subscribing to services. He also says new application servers should be multitenant aware, with multitenancy baked in rather than having to provision a unique instance for each new partner that comes into the system.

According to Haddad, WSO2 built multitenancy into their application server as early as 2009 and have been testing it in real-world situations for the past three years. Haddad was also excited about their systems' lazy loader which loads only the necessary portions of applications instead of spinning up the entire application.

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