Standing Cloud Launches Trial Edition

Not long after I posted about Dave Jilk’s experience with the Pogoplug, he started using the phrase “Pogoplug Simple” to describe one of the goals of Standing Cloud.  The idea is that technology products should be so easy to set up and use that the experience is vaguely unsatisfying – you feel like you didn’t do anything.  Standing Cloud – a company we provided seed funding for last year – is launching publicly this week with its Trial Edition and I think they’ve managed to make cloud application management “Pogoplug Simple.”

The Trial Edition makes it easy to test drive any of about thirty different open source applications on any of several cloud server providers.  Register with your email address, log in, pick an application, click Install, and in about 30 seconds you’ll be up and running with a fully-functioning application accessible on the web.  You don’t need an Amazon EC2 or Rackspace account, as with “appliance” providers.  You don’t need to learn about “instances” and “images” and security groups.  You don’t need to know how to install and configure a web server or MySQL, or download, install and configure software code.  You don’t even need to configure the application itself – Standing Cloud plugs in default values for you.  And it’s free.

Like the Pogoplug, the Standing Cloud Trial Edition doesn’t do anything that a motivated IT professional couldn’t do another way.  It’s just a lot faster and easier.  But for someone who is *not* an IT professional, it removes some rather high barriers to both open source applications and cloud computing.

The Trial Edition is just the beginning for Standing Cloud.  Soon you will be able to host, manage, and scale applications with the same emphasis on simplicity.  Give it a try and give me feedback.

  • Sateesh

    Nice – if it works as advertised, its a killer concept. Lot of people don't realize that cloud is complicated for a regular IT ops person, so if provisioning of new images in the cloud is made simple, that would help.

    Good luck to the guys at Standing Cloud.

  • Another one of those ideas I wish I would of thought of myself. The potential here is HUGE.

  • The industry has been edging towards this for a while, and it's nice to see someone actually executing. I have been using, who makes a "5 minutes to infrastructure" service. But, it's still oriented toward the technically adept. It'll be nice to see the concept taken to it's conclusion!

  • JumpBox can do this as well but with production quality builds for about 60 different applications launch-able in a couple mouse clicks. You also get the added benefit of being able to get identical builds for offline deployment and the ability to easily move your application around from on premise to cloud to hosted or whatever fits your needs.

  • Mark P.

    I registered about 2 hours ago. Still can't log on.

  • Dave Jilk

    Jumpbox is a great offering, but it's not as simple as you make it sound. You have to set up an EC2 account and fill in numerous obscure EC2 parameters before even getting started. Plus it costs $0.20 an hour, which is about $144/mo.

  • Dave Jilk
  • Sateesh

    Holy Cow – just tried your service guys – this rocks!!, haven't seen a simpler experience so far – congratulations again.

  • Simple is the key to success I think. The older version took me about 5 minutes to spark up a service – the latest release about four clicks. Very cool!

  • inboulder

    Hmm, pretty cool, so Standing Cloud has a bunch of scripts that setup test environments for a variety of OSS web apps. I tried a trac instance and it worked great. I'm not sure this feature alone is a huge value add over the hundreds of other hosting companies however; many of them already, setup, host, and manage these apps and I imagine they will follow suit in a matter of weeks if the simple setup becomes popular. Perhaps Standing Cloud can gain traction in that time gap through PR though.
    I can see auto scaling being a great value add, however the intersection of users who need the simple setup and users that will create an instance of say, drupal, that generates enough use that it requires scaling, seems small.

    I think Pogoplug is pretty awesome too, but probably suffers a similar problem. The people that know about Pogoplug and require its use case are probably tech savvy enough not to need it.

    • Dave Jilk

      Very good points to bring up. I don't think we have all the answers at this stage, but I'll mention a few things that impact the analysis:

      – Since we're also connecting to five different cloud providers, there's a lot more going on than just application installation scripts.
      – With a few clicks, you can move your application and data to another cloud service. That's something you'll never see on a hosting provider.
      – Although the Trial Edition only exposes open source apps, our technology is not limited to them. You can customize the code of the apps even in the Trial Edition, and later in the year look for capabilities enabling custom or commercial apps to be installed and managed.

      • inboulder

        I think your first point could be a huge win. If you're able to seamlessly swap out 'cloud' providers of storage etc, to treat them as a commodity in order to automatically get the lowest price for your customers, that could be magnificent.

  • I installed SugarCRM and WordPress. Standing Cloud works great. It will be interesting to see how it evolves. I was left wondering who the target audience is for this service? Small business, internal IT folks? Production use or just testing? Are they planning any automated backup or migration services from one cloud provider to another?

    • Dave Jilk

      The Trial Edition is aimed at anyone who wants to quickly and easily try an application (or a cloud service). For non-technical users it enables a trial without asking for help; for technical users it saves time.

      Look for the Community Edition in about a month, wherein you will be able to host applications and there will be automated backups, monitoring, and yes, migration among cloud providers. It turns out that the Trial Edition enables cloud provider migration, although it doesn't serve much practical purpose yet (Stop your app; then when you go to restore it, pick a different provider).

  • StandingCloud is another type of virtualization from my perspective. The users know little about the underlying resources. They may only know about the primary value of the application being deployed and where it's physically running, but that's about it.

    It's certainly different, but the primary value is similar to that of Google App Engine and SpringSource — hide the hard stuff and make the easy stuff more meaningful.

    Looking forward to how Jilk and team iterate from what is obviously a great start.

  • I hope this works! I am about to try it out and see. From the other comments I am expecting good things.

  • 1. setup Trial account – 15 seconds
    2. choose WordPress install – 1 minute
    3. used Terminal program to ssh in, 10 seconds
    4. found IP address, ready to configure an A record

    A super smooth, easy setup. So far so good.

  • You know that sinking feeling you get in your gut when you've been working on a technology/business concept and then bam you see someone else has created it? That's what just happened to me. A number of other concepts related to it that I have aren't there yet, but you are probably on the same track. Uggh… congrats to Standing Cloud.

  • Psyched to see this go live. Way to go, Jilk!

  • Dave, i just caught this link so apologies for the delayed chime-in here: actually it is that easy. The AWS console/ElasticFox approach is gnarly but we built a web-based widget interface for controlling EC2 instances to make it "parents" simple. The chief evangelist for AWS said it best here:

    And on the pricing, Amazon actually reduced their hourly to $.085/hr (which works out to be somewhere north of $60/mo if you run it 24/7). Plus if you're willing to pay in advance using reserved instances you can cut that by about 1/3rd. The Standing Cloud stuff is sweet- congrats on your recent Rackspace announcement. JumpBox is geared more around giving people the ability to run their OSS apps on their terms, whether that be in the cloud, in a datacenter or simply hosted from their laptop.


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