Open Source Walmart Tool Threatens AWS Cloud Lock-In
Walmart is offering a cloud development tool that seeks to eliminate provider lock-in from major cloud players such as Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
To that aim, the company's tech arm, WalmartLabs, is open sourcing its own homegrown technology to the community, following the lead of Web giants such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google. The product is called OneOps.
"Developers and cloud users know the upside of operating in the cloud -- flexibility, scalability, speed, etc.," wrote WalmartLabs exec Jeremy King in a blog post last week. "Unfortunately, too many have discovered the biggest downside ... being locked in to the cloud provider you start with. At WalmartLabs, we built Walmart's e-commerce operations on the cloud and decided to build technology that gave us all of the cloud's upside without the downside."
OneOps, in addition to being cloud provider-agnostic, helps in-house software engineers develop and launch new products by following Walmart Lab's DevOps culture in which they own the code they write, from inception to customer launch, King said. That helps some 3,000 engineers using the system to commit more than 30,000 code changes per month, streamlining the delivery of new or improved products and shepherding them through the design, transition and operations lifecycle phases.
WalmartLabs in May 2013 acquired Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) vendor OneOps in order to "significantly accelerate our PaaS and Private Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) strategies." Those strategies have apparently evolved.
King said that one of the main benefits of OneOps, cloud portability, lets developers move their projects -- databases, apps or entire environments -- among various cloud providers, taking advantage of better technology offerings or lower prices. He said it puts projects under the total control of developers, who don't have to worry about using proprietary APIs, tools or architecture dictated by cloud vendors.
Targeting public, private or local cloud implementations, OneOps handles complex workloads and provides reusability at three levels: design catalogs for common apps; operational best practices for popular dev platforms, such as PHP, Ruby and Java; and a library of components for platform customization, the project's Web site states.
The company plans to host the source code for OneOps on GitHub by year's end.
"This is good news for developers who need technology that can continuously manage and monitor the applications they develop when it's deployed in the cloud," King said. "It's great news for companies who have considered switching cloud providers but experience the 'Hotel California Effect,' where they can 'check out but never leave' their cloud provider."
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.