Pivotal Extends Cloud Foundry PaaS With Piston OpenStack

The open-source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service is embracing the open-source OpenStack platform to provide infrastructure-as-a-service for its users.

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In the cloud world, there are applications that can be enabled with a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering and then there are the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers on which the PaaS itself can be run.

VMware spinoff Pivotal, today announced that its open-source Cloud Foundry PaaS will now leverage the OpenStack IaaS from Piston Cloud Computing. Additionally, Joshua McKenty, CTO and co-founder of Piston, will now join the Cloud Foundry Advisory Board. The new partnership brings together two of the biggest names in the open-source PaaS and OpenStack cloud markets and could bring extensive benefits to both vendors and users.

McKenty is the former NASA engineer that played an instrumental role in helping to create OpenStack three years ago. OpenStack was originally started as a partnership between NASA and Rackspace and is now a multi-stakeholder effort with many of the leading IT vendors, including IBM, Dell, HP and Cisco. Piston Computing is a company that McKenty helped create to provide commercial support and solutions around OpenStack.

McKenty told eWEEK that his company has been involved with the Cloud Foundry community since at least last year when it contributed the code for OpenStack support in Cloud Foundry. That code contribution was all about making sure Cloud Foundry can run well on OpenStack.

"We've had enough joint customers over the last year, that it was clear that this is a strategy that works," McKenty said. "Cloud Foundry and OpenStack for our customers is a perfect recipe."

VMware launched Cloud Foundry in 2011. The technology moved to Pivotal in April, as part of the spin-out of Pivotal from VMware and EMC assets.

James Watters, head of product, marketing and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal, told eWEEK that it's really important for customers to know that his PaaS works well on Piston's OpenStack distribution. Piston will now also be providing the community infrastructure for Cloud Foundry.

"So now we know that any time a customer wants to use Cloud Foundry on Piston, that's the exact same setup we've used ourselves," Watters said.

Installing Cloud Foundry on Piston

So how do you get a Cloud Foundry PaaS onto a Piston OpenStack Cloud? McKenty explained that his company built a tool called turtles, which is an easy installer for Cloud Foundry.

Cloud Foundry does not install through system images but rather now leverages OpenStack APIs to pull down the required software bits, Watters said, adding that Cloud Foundry can spin up hundreds of virtual machine images all through automated OpenStack APIs.

"That's why our technical collaboration with Piston is so critical, as it allows us to constantly test and optimize the OpenStack APIs," Watters said.

Cross-Cloud Interoperability

Going a step further, Watters explained that the automated virtual machine provisioning from Cloud Foundry can enable the PaaS to deploy across multiple cloud instances. Those instances can be different OpenStack providers, the Amazon cloud as well as to a VMware vCloud environment.

From a financial perspective, the partnership between Piston and Pivotal will yield benefits to both vendors.

"On a number of fronts, we are now being paid to work on the same goals," McKenty said. "Whether that's us being paid to make enhancements to Cloud Foundry's integration with OpenStack, or vice-versa, the net result is the same."

Watters noted that Cloud Foundry relies on having a robust infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) API underneath its service.

"If we don't have reliable IaaS partners, we can't go out and win customers," Watters said. "So we're really excited about this tie-in with Piston because it allows Cloud Foundry to exist."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.