Jelastic – Holy grail of Java hosting?

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The last few weeks have seen a huge growth in buzz about Jelastic. This article was posted early last week to the JavaLobby on Dzone and I wanted to share it with you here. Martin Chalupa looks at the biggest players in the Java hosting PaaS game, and then gives a short rundown on Jelastic. He has a few issues, and I’ll address those at the bottom of the post, but here at Jelastic, we appreciate honest appraisals of our product: how else can we continue to make it even more awesome?! Martin’s full article (with a few edits for readability) is below. If you want to see the original post, you can find it —> here.

I want to write about a weak point in the Java EE world. If you start to learn Java EE, you have to go through many tutorials and learn a lot of information. Finally, you can write some simple, useful application and want to put it on the Internet so that others can see it. There is a problem. Where do you find hosting for an application written in Java?

Yes, the weak point in the Java EE world is hosting.

As a point of information, what follows is from a beginner’s point of view. I don’t want to talk about Enterprise solutions.

So you search the Internet and probably find these possibilities below, but each of them have some restrictions:

  • Dedicated server – The whole configuration is in your hands. You have to do it all by yourself. If you need only simple hosting for your showcase, it’s expensive.
  • Amazon Web Services – Again, very complex and then later, an expensive solution. The first year is free but there are a lot of possibilities on how to configure it and a beginner can be easily lost.
  • Cloud Foundry – Your application is tied to the service provider and you need a virtual machine to run the VMware image. As Mac OS user, it is again a little bit too expensive.
  • Google Apps Engine – Quite good a choice. Easy interface for configuration and deployment. But your source code is tied to the provider’s API.
  • Others …

There is a new service, that has the ambition to solve these restrictions. Its name is Jelastic. Jelastic is based on well known products which are usually used on dedicated servers. Runtime environments can be Java 6 or 7 and the app server is probably the most popular Java Server, Tomcat. It is easy to choose your relational database (for example MySQL, PostgreSQL) or NoSQL databases, like MongoDB. For applications with high load, there is vertical and horizontal scaling. Everything is setup by this simple form.

GUI for administration is simple, just like the environment configuration. You can upload WAR applications, deploy them to Tomcat, and start and stop single services or whole environment.

Here you can find important information about pricing. http://blog.jelastic.com/2012/02/16/next-generation-java-paas-jelastic-announces-commercial-availability-and-pricing-in-us-and-europe/

So, here is a short summary:

Pros:

  • Simple
  • You don’t depend on the provider

Cons:

  • It’s in Beta status now, so it’s can be unstable.
  • Doesn’t have completely free edition for non-commercial use or low load applications

I have a really good feeling about Jelastic. I hope that pricing will be friendly and in basic configurations, will be completely free. I don’t know now about any critical restrictions, so I recommend Jelastic for your Java web experiments.

First, I would like to thank Martin for the post. Second, at the end he brings up two issues, our Beta status and a free tier.

Beta Status: obviously, when something is in Beta, you sort of roll with the punches, knowing that most issues will get ironed out. That said, we are working around-the-clock to resolve any issues and eliminate any stability problems. We have even brought in special Java elves to help. (jk) :)

Free Tier: as of now, we don’t offer this, partly because we are already free while in Beta. We are considering something like a low-level trial tier, but haven’t come to a real conclusion yet. We are proud of what we are doing with Jelastic and we want to make sure that everyone that wants to, gets to use it.

Cheers!
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8 Comments

  • have you compared heroku to jelastic? I have tried heroku for a sampple grails app and there is enough documentation on their official site to get it up and running in 1 hour. I have seen jelastic but never tried that one. Will see if I get the chance to try it out myself

  • mark says:

    Heroku and jelastic are cool but I can’t believe startups use those things. It’s easy enough to install exactly the software and versions you need and be about 50% cheaper. If your team cant figure out how to write a simple git pull deployment script in a day then maybe you have the wrong developers.

    • Judah Johns says:

      Hey Mark,

      We aren’t going after the startups. We are looking to help developers. The truth is that if you want to deploy an app, and you want to do it well, and at the same time continue to develop it, the options that are currently available to you (and I am including traditional methods of hosting and deployment) are terrible. If you want to focus on writing more code, and being a sys admin, and managing your hosting, you can. The problem is that most devs don’t want to. They don’t have the time, nor do they want to waste any effort on it. That’s why Google came up with App Engine and why Heroku exists. At Jelastic, we want it to be so easy to deploy an app to the Cloud that you don’t have to do any extra learning or work. The functionality of your app is priority number 1, and we want to help keep it that way. :)

  • Omar Med says:

    Thank you for sharing , waiting for you to publish an article on Heroku , and other java cloud providers , I have add jelastic to my grails hosting list http://javahostingreview.com/category/java-hosting/grails-hosting/

  • Sergei says:

    I like jelastic for it’s simplicity and power. But cloudlet defined resources are too disproportional for modern apps. I’m running Glassfish with JSF/EJB application – it takes miniumum 10-12 cloudlets due to RAM consumption. plus sql, plus mail, plus php – it comes to $200/month for fairly small application to host. 128Mb/cloudlet? c’mon. It’s easy to setup relatively cheap server with 128GB RAM, but 200GHz of CPU power? RAM/CPU is very disproportional – it should be something like 512MB/200Ghz.

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