Joyent Acquires Reasonably Smart to Take On Google App Engine

Josh Catone
Josh Catone

There are two issues that developers face when picking a cloud hosting environment. Either they have to worry about managing their infrastructure, meaning additional work when they need to scale rapidly — as is the case with Amazon’s Web Services stack, or Rackspace’s Mosso. Or, they have to worry about technology and vendor lock-in — as is the case with Google’s App Engine, which currently limits developers to writing applications in Python, or Microsoft’s Azure, which right now expects developers to use .NET.

Joyent’s Accelerator cloud computing platform works a lot like the former variety of cloud platform. But today the company announced the acquisition of open source cloud computing platform Reasonably Smart, which makes theirs slightly more of a hybrid approach.

Reasonably Smart is described by Joyent Founder and CEO David Young as “an auto-scaling platform-as-a-service; it is a direct, open-source competitor to Google App Engine.” The open source platform, which is currently in alpha, takes care of scaling and architecture issues for the developer, while expecting them to use JavaScript to write their back end code. Reasonably Smart adds extensions to accomplish things JavaScript wasn’t originally designed to do, such as storage.

Though JavaScript isn’t generally thought of as a server-side language, Young writes that he expects that it “will become the language of scale for the web.” The platform is also expected to add support for other languages in the coming months.

What makes Joyent + Reasonably Smart different than App Engine or Azure, is that because Reasonably Smart is open source and will remain that way, developers don’t have to worry so much about vendor lock-in. Joyent will offer Reasonably Smart via their Accelerators (starting in a couple of months), but developers can always download it and run it anywhere else — meaning they can leave Joyent at any time (or skip Joyent altogether).

The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.