Capitalizing on its 2009 acquisition of SpringSource, VMware has announced what it calls the industry's first open platform as a service, known as Cloud Foundry.
Tod Nielsen, co-president of Cloud Application Platform at VMware, told eWEEK that Cloud Foundry represents a new generation of application platform, architected specifically for cloud computing environments and delivered as a service from enterprise data centers and public cloud service providers. Cloud Foundry streamlines the development, delivery and operations of modern of applications, significantly enhancing the ability of developers to deploy, run and scale their applications in cloud environments while embracing the widest range of public and private clouds, high productivity developer languages and frameworks and application services.
"Cloud Foundry is VMware's entry into PAAS," Nielsen said. "It's a delivery along our open development strategy and it offers you a choice of clouds, frameworks and application services."
As part of the April 12 announcement, VMware is introducing a new VMware-operated developer cloud service, a new open source PAAS project and a new "Micro-Cloud" solution. VMware made the Cloud Foundry introduction on April 12 in Palo Alto, Calif., at a live developer event led by VMware CEO Paul Maritz, as well as: Rod Johnson, senior vice president of the SpringSource division of VMware; Mark Lucovsky, a CTO at VMware; and Derek Collison, CTO and chief architect of the Cloud Services Division at VMware; along with developer community leaders Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith, co-founders of Ajaxian; Ryan Dahl, creator of Node.JS; Ian McFarland, vice president of technology at Pivotal Labs; Roger Bodamer, 10Gen's steward of MongoDB; and Michael Crandell, CEO and co-founder of RightScale.
"The shift to cloud computing is driving large-scale, lasting change to the way modern applications are built, deployed, operated and managed," Nielsen said in a statement. "Sustained innovation in developer frameworks and application services, the growing market of hybrid cloud environments and greater demands to drive mobile, social and SAAS elements into mainstream applications are all challenging enterprises and ISVs to continue to deliver greater value, efficiently and at cloud scale. The introduction of Cloud Foundry is a seminal moment for the market, intelligently bringing together this dynamic environment via an open platform built and oriented specifically for the demands of cloud computing."
PAAS offerings have emerged as the modern solution to the changing nature of applications, increasing developer efficiency, while intelligently linking development frameworks and application services in an automated deployment environment, VMware said. PAAS solutions promise to let developers focus exclusively on writing applications, rather than configuring and patching systems, maintaining middleware and physical machines and worrying about network topologies.
Today's early PAAS offerings, however, restrict developers to a specific development framework, unique set of limited application services or an individual, vendor-operated cloud service, VMware said. These unique, incompatible platforms inhibit application portability, locking developers into a particular offering and restricting movement of applications across cloud providers or even into an enterprise's own data center.
Cloud Foundry extends VMware's commitment to Open PAAS, delivering choice of the broadest set of development frameworks and languages, heterogeneous application services and cloud deployment environments, said Steve Herrod, VMware's chief technology officer. Cloud Foundry also delivers the highest degree of portability, minimizing lock-in by enabling developers to migrate applications between environments, across cloud providers and their own data centers without disruption or modification to the application.
Rod Johnson said Cloud Foundry delivers unique intelligence and automation required to bring together heterogeneous application services and applications built in multiple frameworks for seamless deployment across diverse cloud infrastructures.
Initially, Cloud Foundry supports the most popular, high productivity programming frameworks, including Spring for Java, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra for Ruby and Node.js. And the project's open architecture will enable additional programming frameworks to be rapidly supported in the future. For critical application services, Cloud Foundry supports MongoDB, MySQL and Redis databases as well as VMware vFabric services spanning cloud messaging, elastic data management, load balancing and performance management.
Johnson points out that an obvious strength of Cloud Foundry will be its Java support via Spring, but it is not just for Java. In a blog post, Johnson said: "To date, there hasn't been a strong, open PAAS destination for Java. The millions of Java developers have largely been left to fend for themselves in the cloud, with weaker options than have been available, to, say, Ruby developers. We're changing that."