Joining the Stackato Team
by Mark Cox

Mark Cox, August 7, 2013

Cloud Welcome MatThis post is by Mark Cox, the new Stackato Technical Lead. He came to ActiveState from Appsecute and currently resides in Christchurch, New Zealand.

It's been almost 2 months since ActiveState acquired Appsecute and it's been an exciting and interesting time for us.

Three people from Appsecute have joined the Stackato development team - myself, Tyler and Greg. We're all based in Christchurch, New Zealand but we recently had a few weeks in Vancouver at the ActiveState head offices to meet the team and get settled in.

Coming in to ActiveState the one thing that has stood out to me is the people. ActiveState is packed with talented, dedicated people who are clearly willing to go the extra mile for customers. It's refreshing to see a team where technical excellence is valued, and where people are given the time and mandate to do things properly.

I've also heard a lot of praise for our team from customers - particularly how helpful and knowledgeable the support staff have been as customers make the change to using Platform-as-a-Service. People seem to love working with ActiveState.

I've found that the Stackato product itself is sophisticated internally, leveraging and extending the architecture of Cloud Foundry, but the team has done a fantastic job of shielding users from this complexity. The approach of distributing the software as a Virtual Machine image, and simply cloning that VM to make a cluster, makes it incredibly easy to get started.

I was able to set up my own Stackato cluster on my laptop with 3 VMs in around an hour (including some learning time). I'm a developer by trade rather than an ops person but I was amazed with how quick and easy it was. Stackato just worked, first time.

I can see how the guys from Appsecute complement the existing team by bringing considerable enterprise experience, as well as technical experience with Java, Node.js, web services design, JavaScript based UI, and social tools.

As IT departments struggle with increasing demands from the business, it's clear to me that a transition is under way. Forward-thinking IT departments are becoming more like internal service providers, and part of that is providing self-service environments for developers to deploy and run applications. But IT and the CIO are still responsible for security, compliance, audit, uptime and a bunch of other requirements. That's where products like Stackato can really shine, allowing companies to get applications developed and deployed faster while still giving IT the control they need to do their job. It's an exciting area and one with tremendous promise for the future.

We're looking forward to building cool software that will keep Stackato ahead of the game, and making it even easier and faster for our customers to develop and deploy their applications.

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Mark is the technical lead for Stackato and manages Stackato product development. He has been passionate about creating software since the early days of home computing, starting out writing games in assembly language. Staying hands-on has allowed Mark to spend time coding in a variety of languages and environments including C++, Java, C#/.Net, Javascript, Ruby and node.js. Mark has a strong business and enterprise focus, and has worked with Lehman Brothers, SBC Warburg, and Telecom NZ. In 2000 Mark co-founded Fifth Web, creating new technology for e-commerce with a particular focus on finance, writing the first version of Fifth Web's server technology as well as designing software and business processes for the settlement of managed fund trades in Australia. In 2010 Mark joined Jade Software to form a new team and create the JOOB Mobile product - server software to connect back-end enterprise systems through to mobile devices. In 2012 Mark founded Appsecute with Tyler Power, producing application management and social collaboration tools for PaaS. Appsecute was acquired by ActiveState in 2013. Mark has an Honors degree in computer science from the University of Canterbury.