Richardson said he founded Cloud Tools in the summer of 2007.
"I initially wrote Cloud Tools to enable me to quickly and easily deploy a Java application on EC2," he said. "The ability to launch and manage servers through Web services APIs seemed very cool. And it solved a very practical problem: For my clients, I often need to set up clusters and run performance tests, etc. My clients often don't have the necessary hardware in-house to do that. Since Amazon EC2 can run standard software stacks, it's a great place to do that kind of testing and setup."
After the Cloud Tools project began to take off, Richardson thought to build a commercial offering based on it. Enter Cloud Foundry. Cloud Foundry is now being beta tested and will be a service provided by Chris Richardson Consulting.
Cloud Foundry provides automated, outsourced data center management for Java and Grails applications, Richardson said. It eliminates the expense and distraction of developers building and operating their own data centers for their production applications and QA environments, he said, and, with no long-term contracts, developers simply use Cloud Foundry for as long as they need.
Moreover, with just a few clicks of the mouse, developers can deploy their application to a load-balanced cluster running on Amazon EC2 instances, Richardson said. Cloud Foundry also monitors and manages applications and automatically handles autoscaling and failover, he said.
"With Cloud Foundry, cloud computing is as easy as dropping your application's .war files and database files into a Cloud Foundry-managed container running on Amazon EC2," Richardson said.
Until commercial release, use of Cloud Foundry is free, but Amazon Web Services charges will still apply. To join the Cloud Foundry beta visit http://www.cloudfoundry.com/.
Richardson is the author of "POJOs in Action," which describes how to build enterprise Java applications with POJOs (also known as Plain Old Java Objects) and lightweight frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate.