Release: Makara Cloud Application Platform 1.0

Exactly one month ago a new startup entered the cloud computing market with a new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) product: Makara (formerly OSS-1701).
Its Cloud Application Platform can be used for PaaS private and public clouds, hosting PHP and Java applications.

Makara was co-founded in May 2008 by Issac Roth (CEO) and Tobias Kunze Briseño (CTO). 
Roth was the Sales Engineering Manager at Wily Technology when the company has been acquired by CA in January 2006. In the following two years he became a Director of Product Management at CA before leaving to start Makara.
Briseño has been a Senior Development Manager at Pangora, a subsidiary of LYCOS Europe, for more than four years.
With them there is Jimmy Guerrero (Vice President of Marketing), the former Product Marketing Manager for MySQL at Sun first and Oracle after the merger.

Makara is funded with $6M provided by Shasta Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.


Cloud Application Platform is fairly interesting as it includes an infrastructure management component to provision and automatically scale virtual machines. 
To do so, it leverages the capabilities of enterprise-class hypervisors Xen and VMware ESX hypervisors and, oddly enough, of hosted virtualization platforms like Oracle VirtualBox and VMware Workstation.

For each deployed cluster, Makara includes a specific virtual machine that hosts its Application Control Portal, which provides the self-service provisioning and monitoring capabilities.

Specifically, the product can provision VMs and build clusters, fill them with a predefined LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) available from a library, track configuration changes, monitor performances (without agents) and alert on performance degradation, and even scale the VMs according to workloads demand thanks to configurable thresholds.
Cloud Application Platform is available in three editions: the first one, On-Demand Edition, which is just for public PaaS powered by Amazon EC2, while the other two, Enterprise Edition and Service Providers Edition, can be used to build private or public PaaS clouds.
Supported public cloud providers are Amazon (with both EC2 and Virtual Private Cloud) and Terremark.
Customers need the Enterprise edition, which features an annual subscription pricing model, to extend the library with their own software stacks. This may include, for example, a different database than MySQL, even if the Application Control Portal component won’t be able to manage it.
Another welcome capability of the Enterprise Edition is the integration with customers LDAP directory services.
At the beginning of September The Register reported that Makara is in acquisition talk with Red Hat, also thanks to its newest offering: Cloud Application Platform for JBoss.