Sun's Project Caroline proposed for Internet services

Sun launches hosted platform for Internet services

Sun officials preached on Thursday the benefits and nuances of Project Caroline, a research project pertaining to running Internet services.

Based on a platform-as-a-service model, Project Caroline presents a hosted platform for Internet services and a new mode of operations for developers, company officials stressed during discussions at a Sun Labs Open House event.

The research project was cited as an effort to make it easier to build applications akin to the hosted service. While geared to SMBs, enterprises also could use Caroline to host network services, according to Sun officials. The project blends in programming languages like Java and Perl with a computing grid and virtualisation.

"In the future, all applications will tie back to Sun servers running on the Internet," a Sun senior staff engineer working on Project Caroline, John McClain, said. "In many cases perhaps most cases, the entire application will in fact be an Internet service."

Caroline meets a need for deployment of horizontally scaled services and enabling developers to get their services running, McClain said. The project's infrastructure provides a lightweight, low-risk option for running services.

Services like SaaS applications or social networking applications could be deployed. Sun's Project Aura, which involves building a generic recommendation engine that has been used to index blog postings, is deployed on Caroline, McClain said.

Developers write a service using a platform API to set up the environment the service needs. "You instruct the environment automatically," and use the API to vary resources, McClain said.

Applications will have a service component, and developers in this new paradigm will move from just writing code to writing and running code, Sun said. With the new model, each application will have a dedicated set of resources, said McClain.

Through Caroline, a horizontally scalable platform is being developed that can offer services at a utility scale and provide secure isolation so programs do not interfere with each other. Services can configure and flex their own resource usage up and down in real time. virtualisation is used to provide isolation between different services and users and provisioning resources between applications. Storage services are featured as well.

Project Caroline currently exists in a grid in a datacentre in Burlington, Mass., McClain said. There is no set date on when or if Sun would make a product out of Caroline technology.

Code to implement Caroline is available under the GNU General Public License version 2. Caroline currently utilizes the PostgreSQL database, with the MySQL database to be added.

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