As many of you know, I am a huge proponent of scripting languages and the LAMP open source stack. Four years ago, I founded ActiveGrid to bring these technologies into the enterprise. People regularly ask me, "what happpened to LAMP?" since at this pint it is clear the LAMP stack has not had much penetration into the enterprise. I thought it would be worthwhile to analyze why this has occurred.
#1 - Java is now easy
Over the past few years, it has become incredibly easy to build Java web applications, especially database applications. NetBeans is a great example of a Java RAD environment that walks developers through writing a standards-based database web application. For coders, the prevalence of simple frameworks like Struts2 for UI and POJOs (plain old Java objects) with Hibernate / Java Persistence Framework for persistence have made it very straightforward to code a database application, especially when compared to Java EE. Sun's recent endorsement of scripting languages within the JVM (JRuby, JavaFX) is also lowering the bar for Java web application development.
#2 - New infrastructure software has hidden costs
Even if it was quicker and cheaper to build a LAMP application than a Java application, the cost of getting a new software platform approved is pretty astronomical at a lot of enterprises. Adding staging servers, management software, security auditing, training staff in new technologies, etc. is very expensive. Linux and Apache have been enormously successful in the enterprise since they were brought in as a horizontal solution. Bringing in Linux to replace Solaris and running Apache for all static content significantly reduces costs. But running PHP or Python for some applications when an enterprise is already supporting Java and perhaps .Net is not viable for most enterprises, as the cost each added platform multiplies support costs. MySQL has been a bit of an exception to this since it is substantially easier to use and administer than its competition, but it really is a tough slog when enterprises already have enterprise-wide license agreements to Oracle and DB2.
LAMP is still a huge success outside of the enterprise market, it is the stack of preference for Web 2.0 companies, SaaS companies, hosting providers, and legions of ISV's.
At ActiveGrid, we made the transition to Java deployment last year, and as previously announced last year, there will be a tooling update this year. While it can be an inefficient use of time and capital to transition a startup from one trend to another (since it is cheaper and easier to simply shut down a startup and start a new company from scratch), I am glad the company has successfully transitioned and is pressing forward in its mission to simplify application development.
- Peter Yared
- Peter Yared is the CTO/CIO of CBS Interactive, a top ten Internet destination, and was previously the founder and CEO of four enterprise infrastructure companies that were acquired by Sun, VMware, Webtrends and TigerLogic. Peter's software has powered brands from Fidelity to Home Depot to Lady Gaga. At Sun, Peter was the CTO of the Application Server Division and the CTO of the Liberty federated identity consortium. Peter is the inventor of several patents on core Internet infrastructure including federated single sign on and dynamic data requests. Peter began programming games and utilities at age 10, and started his career developing systems for government agencies. Peter regularly writes about technology trends for CNET and has also written for the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, VentureBeat and AdWeek.
Many thanks to Bob Pulgino, Dave Prue, Steve Zocchi and Jean-Louis Gassée for mentoring me over the years.