Cloud Foundry and Stackato in Japan
by Phil Whelan

Phil Whelan, July 15, 2013
Stackato Japan Whirlwind Trip Around Japan

In a recent whirlwind trip to Japan, I met with Cloud Foundry users in Tokyo and Osaka. There is deep investment in Cloud Foundry in Japan. For example, NTT Communications providing a Cloud Foundry-based PaaS through its "Cloud N" service. Also, companies like Rakuten have done a lot of work building on-top of Cloud Foundry.

Other companies I met with are deeply interested in PaaS and an enterprise-grade Cloud Foundry solution like Stackato is very appealing.

The De-Facto PaaS Standard

It was repeatedly acknowledged to me that Cloud Foundry is seen as the de-facto standard in PaaS. Other PaaS projects are known, but are not seen as the standard. In my experience, standards are very important in Japan. On one hand it reduces risk and on the other it increases opportunity. In Japan, it is understood that most will follow the standard path, and that chances of success are higher if that path is taken

Cloud Foundry v2 Adoption

There is not much to talk about regarding Cloud Foundry version 2 (v2) adoption. Nobody seems yet to be making the leap towards it yet. This is mostly due to the size of the leap required: v2 is regarded as a separate open-source product to v1, with limited support to bridge the gap between them.

Cloud Foundry For E-Commerce

Rakuten, Japan's largest e-commerce website, seems to be at the centre of Japan's Cloud Foundry ecosystem. They have a deep knowledge and understanding of the Cloud Foundry open-source project. The direction they have taken with their Cloud Foundry v1 implementation parallels Stackato; they've added a billing system, improved the router, and made the the open-source product ready for prime-time. It was interesting to share Cloud Foundry innovations and insights with Rakuten.

Cloud Foundry JP Meetup

At the Cloud Foundry meetup I attended it Tokyo, there was great reception for Stackato. "Very exciting" was noted on Twitter by several people. This was nice to hear since the attendees are heavy users of the Cloud Foundry project and their opinion is highly valued when it comes to Cloud Foundry-based solutions.

I enjoyed seeing one of the employees from NTT Communications demonstrating Stackato himself. He showed Minecraft running on his Macbook Air, which he had deployed on Stackato directly from the in-built App Store. The App Store, which is part of Stackato's default web console, pulls the project down from GitHub and pushes the code into Stackato. He noted that this was using the Harbor port service that Stackato provides. Harbor provides any application, that is deployed on Stackato, with as many TCP or UDP ports at it requires. This means it can communicate any protocol. Since Cloud Foundry does not have this port service, he noted, running Minecraft would not be possible on a vanilla Cloud Foundry implementation.

What's In Your Stack?

On a more technical level, I talked with companies about the technology stacks that they are using or that they think are important for a PaaS to support in Japan. "Perl is still very popular in Japan," I was told on more than one occasion. I was also told that though Perl is still widely used, Python is becoming very popular.

Wrapping Up

Just like everywhere else, Japan's PaaS ecosystem is still young and relatively small. The technology and paradigm is new to most. But like everywhere else, the ones who get PaaS, really get it. They see the huge potential in where it is going and what it can do for them.

Visiting Japan gave ActiveState a fresh perspective on the Japanese PaaS market, which is not very different from North America and Europe. I truly believe that Stackato is leading the way in enterprise PaaS, as indicated by the large enterprise customers who are signing on. We want to include Japan in this journey as much as possible.

Now, I must get back to my jet-lag. What time is it?

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Phil is the Director of Engineering for Stackato at ActiveState. Stackato is an enterprise PaaS solution based on Cloud Foundry and Docker. Phil works closely with the Stackato development team and is a compulsive code-reviewer. You will see Phil regularly on ActiveState's Blog writing about Cloud Foundry, Docker, OpenStack, CoreOS, etcd, Consul, DevOps and many other cloud related technologies. Prior to coming to ActiveState, Phil worked in London for the BBC, helping build the iPlayer, and Cloudera in San Francisco, supporting Hadoop and HBase. He also spent time in Japan, where he worked for Phil has worked for several startups in Vancouver which included building several large-scale data processing applications such as real-time search engines, log indexing and a global IP reputation network.