Stackato 2.10 Primed, Delivered, and Available!
by Brent Smithurst

Brent Smithurst, April 10, 2013

Stackato 2.10It's been a long five weeks since we released Stackato 2.8, so we felt it was time to let 2.10 (that's "two point ten") into the wild. Similar to Stackato 2.6.7, this was originally planned to be a patch release, but once again our amazing development team had enough new capabilities ready that we included them in the "patch".

As usual, the forum announcement and release notes have the complete change list.

We decided to bump the minor version number this time to reflect the huge number of changes under the hood. Importantly, there are some architectural changes related to future upgradability that demanded a version bump.

I've raved about our development team before and they simply continue to blow me away. There are over 250 items addressed in this release, ranging from performance, reliability, and security enhancements to new versions of bundled runtimes and services and more improvements in the CLI and web console. It's astounding that they were able to do all of this in only five short weeks.

As always, the new features and capabilities were heavily influenced by our enterprise and OEM customers, combined with our long-term vision for Stackato.

Stackato Extensibility

Stackato has always been extensible via Heroku buildpacks (here and here), the ability to create your own services, and Stackato add-ons. Buildpack support is probably pretty self explanatory; if there's a Heroku buildpack that offers functionality you need in Stackato, go ahead and use it. If not, you can make your own. Adding custom services is possible as well, and we've worked directly with several customers before to add what they need. Add-ons are described in a bit more detail below.

Oracle DB Add-On

Several of our large enterprise customers use Oracle databases as a back-end. Stackato was able to hook into Oracle before, but it was a little inconvenient and was less than fully integrated. Stackato 2.10 introduces an Oracle add-on that allows you to create a new service, delete a service, bind an application to a service, expose a database URL, etc. The Stackato dbshell command now supports sqlplus for accessing Oracle from the Stackato CLI and Spring applications can be automatically re-configured to use Oracle if the add-on is present.

Since Stackato is designed to enable an IT as a Service model for you organization, this is all without involving your organization's DBAs or IT team each time an application is deployed or updated. stackato-sales [at] activestate [dot] com (subject: Oracle%20add-on%20for%20Stackato%20request) (Contact us) if you need this Oracle add-on.

Mono 3.0 Add-On

Mono has been supported as a Stackato add-on since Stackato 2.0. Since then, we've been patiently waiting for Mono 3.0 to exit beta and be officially released. While it's still in beta, we felt it's stable enough now to be useful to our customers (particularly those who don't want to set up Windows servers).

New features vs. Mono 2.10 include:

  • C# 5.0 Compiler
  • C# Interactive Shell
  • Complete .NET 4.5 core support
  • Async APIs in all core libraries
  • New Microsoft open sourced stacks, including:
    • ASP.NET MVC 4
    • ASP.NET WebPages

Security Updates

Our enterprise and OEM customers take security very seriously, so many of them perform in-depth penetration testing on Stackato at regular intervals. This has reinforced what we already knew: Stackato is secure and ready for real-world enterprise production use.

Although most issues resulting from penetration tests that have been discovered are very obscure or theoretical, we have issued immediate patches to take care of them. We also issue regular advisories for things like the recent PostgreSQL and Rails vulnerabilities, the same day they're discovered.

We've rolled all of these latest patches into Stackato 2.10, including improved cookie-handling tokens, REST API improvements to block cross-site request forgery, PostgreSQL 9.1.9, and better cloud controller memory management.

Runtime and Service Updates

A majority of our customers use Stackato for Node.js applications (among others, of course). So, we've added the latest versions of Node.js 0.8 plus an additional Node.js 0.10 option for our more bleeding edge users.

Other packaged updates include the latest versions of ActivePerl 5.14 and 5.16, uWSGI, and MongoDB 2.4.

Other Changes

As always, there are many other changes in 2.10, including more usability enhancements in our industry-leading web console and plenty of performance improvements. 

Once again, I encourage you to let us know what you would like to see added to Stackato. What problems are you having that Stackato is not currently solving? How can we make your life easier? Please let me know via Twitter, brents+feedback [at] activestate [dot] com (subject: Stackato%20feedback) (email), or our Stackato discussion forum.

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Brent is ActiveState's Vice President of Product Management & Marketing. He's interested in helping enterprise IT departments and developers work together more effectively. Prior to joining ActiveState, he held leadership positions in software product management, IT, operations, and marketing for organizations in security/computer management, motion picture/television, food services, and hardware retail/online industries. But you already knew that after checking him out on LinkedIn, didn't you?