Really, what is it with giants and their adoration for beanstalks? Amazon (newssite) has moved up the infrastructure stack and announced the beta release of its Platform as a Service (PaaS), Amazon Elastic Beanstalk. The service makes it easier to manage and deploy applications on Amazon Web Service (AWS) and is free. Will the sprouting of Beanstalk over shadow PaaS competition?

What’s On the Beanstalk

Amazon Elastic Beanstalk reduces the complexity of managing and deploying applications to AWS. Like fairytale magic, Beanstalk automatically handles deployment details like provisioning, load balancing, scaling and monitoring. Without Elastic Beanstalk, AWS users interact with individual services using low-level configuration and code that some customers do not have the sophistication or desire to provide. There is no charge for Beanstalk -- users only pay for the AWS resources used to run their applications

Unlike some PaaS offerings, Beanstalk allows users to retain control of underlying services and fine-tune options. This will be attractive to developers with disdain for the “one-configuration fits all” that eliminates almost all flexibility and control over the application environment.

The beta release only supports Java applications on the Apache Tomcat stack, but will likely expand to support additional languages such as Ruby, supported by Heroku and Engine Yard, or Python, like Google App Engine.

The PaaS Market

It shouldn't be surprising to most industry watchers that Amazon decided to supplement its infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) with PaaS. Making it easier to leverage existing services will likely attract more customers.

In the last year, many cloud services providers had the exact same idea. RedHat acquired Makara, Salesforce snapped up Heroku and partnered with VMWare to introduce Java PaaS VMForce, VMWare also previewed VMWare Cloud OS at the end of last year while Microsoft enhanced and opened up its Azure platform.

Given these trends, Amazon appears to be just following what all the IaaS cool kids are doing.

Learn More

The beta version of Elastic Beanstalk is available now. Potential users can click the “Begin Using AWS Elastic Beanstalk” button on the AWS Elastic Beanstalk detail page.

Individuals that want more information about Elastic Beanstalk should consider the introductory webinar on January 24.