Hot on the heels of other recent platform-as-a-service launches, VMware (news, site) has announced its own PaaS offering, called Cloud Foundry. The open-source cloud platform aims to give developers the means to create applications on public, private and private clouds without having to worry about the underlying architecture.
Cloud Foundry intends to minimize the complexities of developing applications for cloud environments. This means applications can be built to be deployed on different infrastructures. The idea is that developers will just need to write a few lines of code, and Cloud Foundry will interface with the existing system for the application to run.
According to VMware CTO Steve Herrod, Cloud Foundry's "Open PaaS" strategy gives developers a choice in the following:
- Developer frameworks
- Application infrastructure services
- Clouds to which to deploy applications
By offering an open architecture in all three dimensions, Cloud Foundry overcomes major limitations found in today’s PaaS solutions. Nascent industry PaaS offerings are held back by limited or non-standard framework support, lack of variety of application services and especially the inability to deploy applications across both public and private clouds," he said.
Cloud Foundry Gives Developers a Choice
Open Architecture -- Cloud Foundry can run on top of existing cloud providers and cloud architectures, whether these are made by VMware or other providers. According to Herrod, Cloud Foundry will integrate with any developer framework, application service or infrastructure. The initial release of Cloud Foundry supports Spring for Java, Sinatra and Rails. Other Java VM frameworks are also supported.
Application Services -- Aside from being able to run on top of various architectures, Cloud Foundry is also designed to work on a variety of application services. Cloud Foundry will initially work with MySQL, MongoDB and Redis, but VMware is working on supporting other application services, such as its own vFabric.
A choice of deployments -- Apart from architecture and application services, Cloud Foundry also gives developers the leeway to deploy applications for a variety of cloud setups. This includes private clouds, public clouds, and even micro-clouds that run on one virtual machine. This lets developers build applications while offline or with local testing, with the assurance that the development environment will be similar to the live production environment.
Open Source Release
While open source might not be the first thing you think of when you hear "VMware," the company believes that the best licensing and release model for cloud technologies is open source. This gives developers the power to delve into the code and modify it based on their needs. Open source software will also help prevent vendor lock-ins, which can be a major decision point for any enterprise.
Cloud Foundry has an open source community site, while cloudfoundry.com is run as a public cloud PaaS, through which developers can try out the service and run their own beta testing of applications. VMware is also offering a commercial version of Cloud Foundry, which will be a supported deployment that runs on vSphere. The commercial version will also work with vFabric application services and interface with other services as well.