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As Progress Arcade makes it's first tentative steps into the world (we'll shortly start a Beta program) I thought it might be worth while to do a quick posting as to what Arcade is and also importantly what it isn't. I'm sure some of you reading this will know of Arcade, or at least have a vague understanding or heard of it in passing, but for some this maybe the first you ever heard of it!
So, what is Progress Arcade?
Well, the first thing to say is what it isn't, and that is, it's not a product. It's a destination!
A destination? So I can bring my quarters and start playing Space Invaders?
Er, No! It's a destination where Customers & Partners can go to Stage & Test, Demonstrate, Evaluate and Deploy Progress based Products and Applications in the Cloud, as well as offer Services and join a community in discussion around all things Progress & Cloud.
Ah yes, to the Cloud! Any Cloud?
Initially our focus is on public clouds, with Amazon being our first, but the architecture and design of Arcade was built deliberately with the purpose of allowing multiple Cloud vendors to be utilized, it's just that we have to start somewhere, and so we decided to start with Amazon as they have the largest mind share today. But the ability is there to offer other public clouds such as Rackspace, GoGrid, and even private cloud technologies such as Eucalyptus. It's perfectly feasible that using Arcade you could have an Application Server running on one public cloud vendors infrastructure in one geographic region, and an associated Web Server running on a completely different cloud vendors infrastructure in a different part of the world, allowing the deployment of servers close to the user for maximum performance.
Ok, that all sounds great, but it also sounds complicated!
Not at all! My whole mantra for Arcade has been to make the Cloud 'Fisher Price' !! You shouldn't have to go through a huge learning exercise, reading about AWS, EC2, S3, EBS, and all the other terms the cloud folks come up with (and they are just Amazon terms, you can imagine that the other vendors have their own terms) just to use the cloud. So what if I were to tell you that once logged in to Arcade, in 10 clicks of a mouse (and that includes accepting some legal T&C's), you can have a multi-server deployment (Web Server and Application Server), with Progress products installed, up and running in Singapore! That's the power of Progress Arcade.
Right, that all sounds fantastic, but I still don't get it. What do I use Arcade for?
Well, there are a number of use cases depending on who you are, but lets review a couple.
First lets assume you're a Progress Partner, you've heard about the cloud, read some analyst reports saying it's the best thing since sliced bread, and you have an application that you'd like to deploy in the cloud. Arcade provides the ability for you as the Partner to go through the necessary steps to check out the cloud, make sure your application operates as expected in a cloud environment before you ultimately deploy. The first step would be to use the 'Stage & Test' area within Arcade. Stage & Test allows through a number of mouse clicks, the ability to on-demand request a deployment from a Progress provided list of options (Progress Products and Operating System choices), the cloud region you'd like to test in etc. After the deployment configuration has been requested, Arcade builds the chosen configuration specifically for you based upon the options chosen. Once created, the deployment can be started and you can log onto the running servers that have the products requested already installed. You're now free to use the servers as required, so you can install your application and begin to perform whatever tests you'd like to make sure the application performs as needed. When testing is complete and you're happy that the application and environment works as expected, there is the option to take a copy of the environment and in effect make that your gold-image. From this point you now have a couple of choices. Arcade allows you to 'Publish' the tested environment to either a Demo or Deployment area. As their names suggest, Demo allows you to control demo copies of the environment for use by Sales people or potential customers, Deploy allows you to have a true production environment running 24x7x365. Again, all without the need of having to go though a huge learning exercise of all the cloud terminology.
Now lets assume you're an existing Progress customer, or even a new prospect, and you'd like to evaluate Progress products. As a user I can log onto Arcade and select the 'Showroom' area. This is where we as Progress use Arcade to offer evaluation environments for our products. From a list of options, pre-determined by Progress, as a user you can select the Products and deployment configuration you'd like to evaluate, also with the choice of where geographically you'd like to run the servers, so if you're in Europe, select Europe, if you're in AP, select AP and Arcade will deploy the servers in your chosen region. So that's great and everything, you get a set of servers with products installed to play with, but what do I do next? Well another concept we've used for Arcade is the 'Out of the Cloud Experience'.
'Out of Cloud Experience', what on earth does that mean???
Well, it wouldn't be much good if we provided you the evaluation environment, and when you logged on all you're presented with is a Desktop full of icons and told to have a nice day! So in addition to the products being installed, we automatically install sample applications, such as AutoEdge, video's and guided tours that can walk you through some of the features and benefits of the products. Once you've reviewed the content, you're then free to play and check out the products as needed.
So you're saying that as Progress, you're also using Arcade and the Cloud ?
Absolutely! This is a great way for us to get product into the hands of customer and prospects without the need for them to download, install and configure product on their local machines.
Any more uses?
There are lots, and I could go on all day about this stuff, and believe me many people say I do!!
Looking back up the page I said this would be a quick post but already this is getting long, so I'll stop for now. If after reading this you have any further comments or questions around Progress Arcade, please feel free to comment on this blog or email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). As we go through our Beta Phase I'll come back and post more. But for now, if you're still reading thanks for taking the time :-)
View all posts from Mike Ormerod on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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