ActiveState Harnesses Python For Amazon Cloud

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Python developers can use ActiveState’s Amazon-based cloud service to deploy enterprise applications

ActiveState has announced it is delivering the ActivePython Community and Business Editions of its Python development environment as part of a pre-built Python-centric Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

ActiveState, which focuses on dynamic languages and offers solutions for Perl, Python and Tool Command Language (TCL), said its new AMI is enterprise-ready and provides a full LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl) stack. This includes Ubuntu’s Linux operating system, Apache Web Server and MySQL, plus the Python packages necessary to develop and deploy cloud applications quickly and securely. It is aimed at providing an easy lead into Amazon EC2 for Python development.

A Competitor For Google App Engine?

In some respects, this new ActiveState offering is a competitor to Google App Engine, which supports both Python and Java development in a cloud environment. However, ActiveState officials said their product is more robust than Google’s offering, despite recent expansions to the platform with Google App Engine 1.4.

“The ActivePython Amazon EC2 AMI does not directly compete with Google App Engine,” Diane Mueller, director of enterprise product management at ActiveState, argued. “It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.

“Applications that thrive on the Google App Engine platform are generally those that take limited transaction cycles to complete and conform to Google’s fixed quota system for daily limits and maximum rates of data transfers, API calls and transformations.” she explained.  “Once you’ve hit these resource maximums that Google sets to ensure the integrity of their shared architecture’s boundaries, then you have to ‘ask’ for permission to ‘pay’ for more cycles. Heavier computing cycles required by enterprise or financial apps need their own dedicated servers.

“This is exactly what the ActivePython Amazon EC2 AMI’s infrastructure provides,” she continued, “along with the build scripts to scale your environments at your own discretion. With the ActivePython and Amazon EC2 combination, you have complete control of your computing resources, and you’re running your Python applications on Amazon’s proven computing environment.”

More Than Just The Basics

The new AMI from ActiveState featuring ActivePython Business Edition provides access to Python database packages for Postgres, Oracle, SQLite and MS SQL in the Amazon EC2 environment. It also provides key cryptography packages (M2Crypto) for security and critical Python packages for financial and scientific computing (Numpy, Scipy) applications. The ActivePython AMI also enables companies to get their own private, secure AMI complete with scripts to easily deploy more stacks as their deployments grow. ActiveState has built and tested all components of the stack ensuring seamless integration.

“We’re excited to become an Amazon Solutions Provider providing the first ActiveState-supported, tested, private and secure Python-centric AMI to the market,” Mueller said. “It enables faster development and deployment of cloud-based applications and saves development time with a ready-to-run, trusted ActivePython stack.

“Enterprises can go to market faster and more securely with all the components and packages needed to enable enterprise-grade security and database connectivity,” she added.

The AMI with ActivePython Community Edition is free if using cloud applications for internal company use. The AMI with ActivePython Business Edition is $999 (£635)/server/year and is available immediately.

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