VMware Springs Forth with New Cloud App Platform

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-08-31

VMware Springs Forth with New Cloud App Platform

VMware has announced its new Cloud Application Platform, which capitalizes on some of the company's key acquisitions and combines the Spring Java development framework with VMware's new vFabric application services.

The announcement comes out of VMware's VMworld conference in San Francisco, where the company rolled out its new strategy and solutions for cloud application platforms, enabling developers to build and run modern applications that intelligently share information with underlying infrastructure to maximize application performance, quality of service and infrastructure utilization, VMware officials said.

The VMware Cloud Application Platform combines Spring and vFabric to deliver a complete cloud application platform that ensures performance and portability across heterogeneous cloud environments. vFabric is a comprehensive set of integrated application services including a lightweight application server, global data management, cloud-ready messaging, dynamic load balancing and application performance management.

VMware officials said modern applications need to support dynamic user interactions, low-latency data access and virtual infrastructure all while meeting the security and compliance demands of the enterprise. VMware vFabric is optimized for cloud computing's increasingly dynamic architectures, versus traditional middleware that requires complete stack control.

VMware's cloud application platform strategy is a key tenet of VMware's IT-as-a-service vision. IT-as-a-service is about optimizing the production of IT services and creating new models of IT consumption that dramatically improve IT agility. This changes the traditional view of IT as a cost center to one of value creator.

"With the rise of virtualization and modern development frameworks, a fundamentally more productive and portable approach to delivering new applications has emerged," said Rod Johnson, senior vice president of the Application Platform division of VMware. "We're moving into an era where developers can build great applications and immediately deploy those applications onto a modern platform that provisions and configures itself on demand and intelligently runs and scales the application based on policy."

In an interview with eWEEK, Johnson said the new VMware Cloud Application platform "is the coming-out party of the SpringSource technology we brought to VMware. This is the vision of what drove the acquisition."

"IT is undergoing a transformation: Applications are changing, infrastructure is changing, and organizations are looking for a pathway to harness the promise of the cloud," said Rachel Chalmers, senior analyst of enterprise software at The 451 Group, in a statement. "Application platforms of today have markedly different requirements than those we have relied upon in the past. The VMware Cloud Application Platform is evolving to meet the needs of today's organizations."

Johnson added that he believes the Java community is the largest enterprise developer community around. And, largely because of Spring, "we are strong leaders in Java productivity. That's one of our key advantages. It's important for developers to bring their existing tools into cloud computing. So we want you to come as you are."

VMware officials said applications are increasingly built with modern development frameworks that leverage runtime and data management services that are much more agile and designed for virtualization. VMware's vFabric will initially target the 2.5 million Spring Java developers. The VMware Cloud Application Platform comprises the Spring Framework for building new applications together with a complete set of Application Platform Services required to run and manage these applications. The combination will enable enterprises to maximize speed and innovation, extend the benefits of virtualization to the application, and provide an evolutionary path to the cloud.

Indeed, with this new VMware cloud application platform, developers are able to build new applications in a familiar and productive way while enabling the choice of where to run them, whether on-premises or in public clouds such as VMforce or Google.

However, "We get into a lot of conversations about implementing the private cloud to run enterprise Java applications," Johnson said. "We're giving our customers a clear pathway to cloud computing."

Spring Speeds Development


For its part, Spring speeds development by more than 50 percent through developer tools and features that make it easy to create new applications that provide a modern user experience across a range of platforms, browsers and personal devices; integrate applications using proven Enterprise Application Integration patterns, including batch processing; access data in a wide range of structured and unstructured formats; and leverage popular social media services and cloud service APIs, VMware said in a press release on the new application platform.

The VMware Cloud Application Platform, featuring the vFabric integrated application services, delivers modern middleware infrastructure to developers, application architects and IT teams as a collection of cloud-scale, integrated services. These services include a lightweight application server, the tc Server, which is an enterprise version of Apache Tomcat optimized for Spring and VMware vSphere and can be instantaneously provisioned to meet the scalability needs of modern applications. For data management services, GemFire speeds application performance and eliminates database bottlenecks by providing real-time access to globally distributed data. The RabbitMQ cloud-ready messaging service facilitates communications between applications inside and outside the data center. The services also include the ERS dynamic load balancer, an enterprise version Apache Web server that ensures optimal performance by distributing and balancing application load. Meanwhile, Hyperic enables proactive application performance management through transparent visibility into modern applications deployed across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

Johnson said the new cloud app platform represents the next step in the evolution of middleware.

However, Tod Nielsen, chief operating officer at VMware, told eWEEK he believes the "big takeaway" from the news of the new app platform is "we're leading the next wave of computing. The old worldview of application servers and middleware was the big, thick Hummer of the industry. But today developers say they need a more nimble and lightweight solution, more like a Prius."

Nielsen acknowledged that VMware has gained substantially from its acquisitions, including SpringSource, Rabbit Technologies, Zimbra and other assets. Indeed, Nielsen told eWEEK that one of the topics he will cover at VMworld is the issue of acquisitions as an "organic accelerant" to VMware's continued growth and maturity as a company.

"We try to focus on the core of the IT and what we can integrate with our existing technology without a ton of additional or extraneous effort," Nielsen said. "We do this versus trying to just buy a revenue stream or buy something that stands on its own." Instead, everything VMware acquires becomes part of the overall VMware offering, he said.

Spring and the VMware Application Platform Services will be available Aug. 31 for download.

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