April 10, 2009

Google Apps charges ahead with improved data security and long-awaited Java support

Cast Iron Systems and Google have teamed up to overcome one of the biggest hurdles to cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) in the enterprise — concerns over data security.

Cast Iron for Google Apps, which was announced today, includes the Google Secure Data Connection, enabling the encrypted exchange of data between a company’s enterprise applications and Google’s cloud offerings. This makes it easier for companies to integrate their Google Apps and Google App Engine applications with on-premises and cloud apps.

Cast Iron, Mountain View, Calif., is a SaaS and cloud applications provider, and offers pre-configured connectivity with hundreds of other applications, as well as a library of integration templates with pre-configured gadget data maps. Cast Iron for Google Apps offers a portfolio of deployment options, including integration-as-a-service through Cast Iron Cloud, and on-premise physical and virtual appliances.

In a recent survey, IT executives displayed considerable hesitancy in switching to cloud-based applications. A main reason for holding back, cited by many of these executives, was the concern over data security.

Not everyone is squeamish about using cloud apps. Schumacher Group, a $250-million U.S. emergency medicine practice management firm, has created a web portal for its medical providers using a set of custom gadgets and a Google site. The company manages 2,500 physicians who care for 2.5 million patients each year in over 150 emergency rooms across 20 states.

Cast Iron for Google Apps helps enable the extraction and secure exchange of data from Schumacher Group’s MS SQL Server data warehouse to Google Enterprise Gadgets in real-time. Providers and doctors in the Schumacher network now have more secure visibility into emergency room data from anyplace, anytime.

In other Google Apps news, the long-awaited Java support for App Engine has been announced, and the first 10,000 developers to sign up will be given a first look and a chance to comment.

With the new support, developers can build web applications using standard Java technologies and run them on Google’s scalable infrastructure. The Java environment provides a Java 6 JVM, a Java Servlets interface, and support for standard interfaces to the App Engine scalable datastore and services, such as JDO, JPA, JavaMail, and JCache.

Also included is a secure sandbox, which will allow developers to run code safely on Google servers, while being flexible enough to allow them to break abstractions at will. More information is available at http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/java/overview.html.

These two developments continue the march toward enterprise-ready cloud activities. Can we still really call cloud just a fad or hype?


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