Recognizing the growing popularity of Node.js for building distributed Web applications, cloud provider Joyent will soon offer a commercial support package for managing the platform, wherever it is run.
Priced at US$990 a month, Node.js Core Support is aimed at heavy commercial users of Node.js. The service will inspect Node.js systems and provide data to troubleshoot issues.
The service can work with the Node.js deployments that Joyent itself runs as part of its PaaS (platform-as-a-service) collection of hosted technologies. It can also work with hosted Node.js deployments from other providers, such as Heroku, Microsoft Windows Azure, and Engine Yard.
The service can also work with any private deployments of Node.js that are running on either Linux or Solaris servers.
Joyent's offering suggests that Node.js is increasingly becoming a core Web technology. Since its creation in 2009, Node.js has been rapidly adopted across a range of industries, especially within the fields of media and Internet services. The New York Times, Groupon, Yahoo, CondA(c) Nast, HBO, National Public Radio, Walmart, eBay, PayPal, and LinkedIn all use the technology.
Last month, Microsoft released a package to help developers write Node.js applications in the company's Visual Studio IDE (integrated development environment).
Joyent boasts of having deep expertise in Node.js. It currently manages the code base and employs a number of the software's maintainers, including, up until recently, Ryan Dahl, who originally created it.
Node.js also features a number of handy developer aids, including a built-in Web server and the npn package manager for installing additional modules.
Currently, Joyent offers commercial support for its own Node.js customers in three tiers: production, business critical, and mission critical. The new offering will be similar, offering four levels of support, each with a guaranteed service level agreement, which have yet to be specified.
Joyent announced the offering at the Node Summit conference, being held this week in San Francisco.
One early user was Walmart, which used the tool to debug a very slow memory leak that would only become evident a week or so after starting a Node.js instance. "Memory that leaks out slowly is really dastardly, because it is too small to notice in minutes or even hours," Cantrill said. "Understanding where the memory is going is brutally hard, because you can't reproduce it in development. It has to be done in production."
Joyent first built the diagnostic toolchain to monitor Node.js deployments on Joyent's version of Solaris, called SmartOS. The toolchain runs on Joyent's hosted storage service Manta, which includes compute capabilities. A Joyent engineer developed a way to run the diagnostics on core dumps from a Linux kernel in addition to Solaris kernels, which allowed the company to open the service to a wider possible user base, Cantrill said.