VMware this week announced the beta of Cloud Foundry, it’s open-source Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. Cloud Foundry integrates the Java development framework technology Spring which VMware acquired from Springsource in August 2009. Springsource at that time already acquired infrastructure management firm Hyperic, for which the funding was provided by VMware. Cloud Foundry also integrates the messaging technology from RabbitMQ, which VMware acquired in April last year. Also in April last year, VMware announced a partnership with Salesforce.com for VMForce.com and also announced a partnership with Google for AppEngine in May last year all leveraging these acquired technologies . VMware also acquired data grid technology company GemStone in May last year. Beginning this month VMware also acquired cloud-based backup services provider Mozy from EMC.
Cloud Foundry supports multiple developer frameworks, initially it will support Spring for Java, Rails and Sinatra for Ruby and Node.js. Also other JVM-based frameworks like Grails are supported. Cloud Foundry also supports several Application Services, supporting MySQL, MongoDB and Redis intially and VMware expects to expand the support in the coming months to other Application Services including VMware’s own vFabric application service. Cloud Foundry can be deployed on several types of clouds as well, it can be deployed in Private and Public clouds, running on top of vSphere and the vCloud infrastructure, but it can also run on top of Amazon EC2 using the IaaS management solution from RightScale. Cloud Foundry can also run locally in a single development environment (VMware Fusion or Player) which VMware calls a Micro Cloud.
Cloud Foundry will be available as a complete hosted PaaS environment through CloudFoundry.com which is available for free in beta, and as an open source project at CloudFoundry.org, which is led by VMware. The Micro Cloud is still to be released and will be provided in a VMware Fusion or Player VM running locally.
It’s obvious that VMware is seeking direct competition with Microsoft and its Platform as a Service solution Azure running Microsoft’s .NET platform, but also with Google, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce.com and Amazon AWS. Due to the extended support for multiple widely used solutions/platforms this is a very strong solution which is able to support this.
VMware now also offers a similar solutions that several of its partners provide as well, as Chris Wolf, Research VP of Gartner mentions in his blogpost of last week titled: Is VMware a Provider or Enabler?
With the past two announcements, you could say that VMware isn’t stepping on the toes of its provider partners, but it is standing so close to their toes that it is making them uncomfortable.
He also notes:
VMware can’t remain primarily as a platform for Windows applications in an area where Microsoft is a direct competitor. That story always ends the same. So the success of Open PaaS is very strategic to VMware because in my opinion VMware needs a strong application platform to compete against the likes of Microsoft and Oracle long term.
Brian Gracely, Cloud Evangelist at Cisco also shares some interesting thoughts, in his article titled:”101 Thoughts about the “Cloud Foundry” Announcement”
- How much will we see applications moving from one cloud to another, or is the portability and open-source aspect just an insurance policy for running it on an existing IaaS/PaaS environment that may not be able to create enough cross-linkage, traffic or overall value?
- Anything that creates the ability for developers to create portability in an application is almost always a good thing. [NOTE: Can’t think of when it wouldn’t be a good thing…]
- One of the goals of Cloud Computing is to hide the “where did it come from” from the user. This seems to be a step in the right direction, whether you’re an Enterprise, Web Company or a ISV/iPhone/Android developer.
- There are pros and cons to this being released as an open-source project. It obviously speeds up the pace of innovation, but equally speeds the race to $0 for many aspects around this business. It all depends on which side of that $0 you’re on.