Friday, April 27, 2007

Web 2.0 catchup

The Web 2.0 Expo was fantastic, we had an excellent outing with Zimki as per Koby's post on our blog, overall great fun.

I gave two talks - one for Ignite, one at the Web 2.0 Expo itself - both seemed to go ok. I also met a large number of interesting people and listened to some very interesting ideas, you just can't ask for more than that.

We didn't get much take up on the carbon offset idea. We'll try that again at OSCON as I'm keen to encourage people to think about such things.

I saw many exciting ideas, talks, companies and products but I'll mention one in particular - BungeeLabs.

We launched Zimki, well its predecessor called LibApi, back in early 2006 with the service going public in Mar 2006. The idea was based around :-

  • an online development environment which took care of all the "Yak shaving" which normally occurs with software development
  • a "pay as you consume" model for charging for the use of our computing cloud
  • the creation of a competitive utility computing market through the open sourcing of Zimki

Later that year Amazon's EC2 launched, we knew we had competition - so it's good to see another company enter the same market space. Why good? Well, it validates the market, it creates competition and I have to agree with Sha Agassi's sentiment that utility computing clouds are the most important developments in the software industry for the last ten years.

Agassi however refers to Amazon's EC2 directly whereas my view is the really important step is the establishment of a competitive utility computing market - not just one provider - hence the reason for open sourcing Zimki to try and kick-start this process (see my earlier posts on open sourcing Zimki, large scale disruption, utility based grids etc)

So how about the new kids on the block with their next-generation on-demand environment? What do they provide? A web-based IDE, on-demand scalable deployment, highly instrumented infrastructure and utility computations that combine computing, storage and network interaction - hey it sounds like another Zimki like concept.

Unfortunately they are not going to be into beta phase until May apparently - so it's not out yet, but it is direct competition at the same level of the stack - this is good news.

The IDE they demonstrated looks good, didn't get a chance to play with it myself and from Alex Barnett's blog they've got the concepts right - utility computing and removing "yak shaving" (note, must buy shares in the little company that makes our Yaks for us). Of course, I'd have to agree since we've been doing and talking about this for over a year, I wouldn't exactly call it revolutionary though. We didn't even think it was revolutionary back when we started and that was some time ago.

However a couple of disappointments for me. First they seem to have created a new language - BungeeLogic. I wish they hadn't, there is enough of them out there, that's why we chose JavaScript.

Secondly from what I was told by them, they are only open sourcing the connection component not the entire environment and engine. This is a shame, as the real value is to have many providers in the same space with developers freely able to move between providers.

Still, it's exciting though