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"Enterprise isn't a 4 letter word"


Recently, while talking with RedMonk client FiveRuns, I suggested that enterprise shouldn’t be a four letter word. There’s plenty of “good” stuff in the enterprisey bucket, like not having to show cat pictures when I want to tell the world what kind of sandwich I’m eating.

We either need to come up with a new term to mean “production ready and scales,” or reclaim the word enterprise. (Which begs the question: reclaim from who?).

I’m perfectly aware and cautious of enterprise meaning “we’ve complexified the crap out of this otherwise elegant, useful, and cool technology.” I mean, it’s obvious that’s not what I’m talking about here, right?

Now, the rails bunch is feisty. That crew doesn’t like the enterprise kids milling around in their front-lawn. Watching the street from my neighborhood window, as it were, I’ve guiltily enjoyed watching the many scuffles between those two crowds.

What the rails crowd really doesn’t like it people saying they suck. Unlike other, less prickly communities, they strike back. In this case, I think everything will be fine, though.

FiveRuns Enterprise management Suite for Rails

So, it should be little wonder that I’m excited to see FiveRuns having a go at helping the enterprise use rails with their announcements today about their FiveRuns Enterprise management Suite for Rails:

RM-Manage was released today, and provides instrumentation for rails to get more monitoring and management functionality. CBR‘s Tony Baer covers the road-map:

The next piece, RM-Install, will be released next month and simply consist of the essential libraries for the Rails stack. Although it will be offered for free, there will also be a $49 annual subscription option if you want to get updated with the latest libraries in the Rails stack.

The final pieces, which will be released during the second half of the year, will cover application profiling (this will be called RM-Develop), deployment (providing a GUI-based version of the open source Capistrano utility (to be called RM-Deploy); and end-to-end monitoring from server to client (to be called RM-End to End).

Also, there’s a partner program, RAMP, for resellers.

Removing rails hurdles

I spoke with Olivier “OT” Thierry and Steven Smith a little while ago on the topic (thanks to Lauren and Josh for putting it together). There are a few, broad things to keep in mind about the general idea:

  • This is the key issue that I see FiveRuns trying to address: enabling wider rails use by giving IT departments the tools it wants to deploy, manage, and maintain rails installs. The idea here is to help IT departments out when it comes to rails. Rails is taking off in the enterprise already, developers love it. But, give a rails app over to the operations people, and the response ranges from “uh, how about you run that for me?” to “NUH-UH!” That is, not all operations folks are tooled technologically and culturally to run rails applications. You have to remember that in large shops, the developers write the code and then throw it over the wall to the IT department to run. Sure, we’d all like that Amazon nirvana where the developers are responsible for running the code, but that’s not how things are (yet).
  • The FiveRuns team actually use rails and (as far as I can tell) are part of the rails community. Their goal is to widen the use of rails by making it easier for rails developer to use it in their 9-5 jobs. That is, FiveRuns is not running around yelling “rails sucks!” They’re all over RailsConf this week as well.

gem update

In #drunkandretired this morning there was some discussion along the lines of “why pay for gem update?” which is certainly a valid question. My thinking here is that IT departments, and even some developers, would rather pay a small yearly fee than have to manually do updates. Sure, it’s hard to beat free, but if you have the budget, automated is nice. Not to mention that some IT departments might rather spend money rather than time.

So while the usual, free ways of keeping things up-to-date may be dandy for parts (if not most) of the current rails community, as rails expands, I’d wager that new rails community members would be more than happy to pay a reasonable fee to keep things up to date. To make the obvious parallel, you can always just type in apt-get update as well, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of sales for automating and supporting Linux updating.

Layering on IT management

Now, of course, FiveRuns still has their SaaS IT management platform. I didn’t get the sense or feedback that that was going away. Indeed, they have a fair amount of customers and partners signed up.

Pulling back to that perspective, it’s fun to see an IT management vendor getting into not only rails management but rails ALM. My hope, as should be obvious, is that it’ll make it easier for developers to use rails and customers to benefit from rails.

Disclaimer: FiveRuns is a client.

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Categories: Enterprise Software, Programming, Systems Management.

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3 Responses

  1. Can you please explain this in cat pictures? I'm operations people and I don't really get the whole rails thing.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] as usual Cote has the real coverage. This entry was written by jgovernor and posted on May 18, 2007 at 9:23 am and filed under […]

  2. […] – “Enterprise Management for Rails”. See also Coté’s Enterprise Isn’t a 4 Letter Word […]