Yesterday I attended VMware’s Cloud Foundry announcements. More on those announcements over at Techmeme. If you’re a developer it’ll be hard to miss what VMware’s doing here. It’s very significant and means a lot to a group of companies, from Amazon, Google, Microsoft on one side and Rackspace and Salesforce on another. We’re all trying to figure out what it means for us, because they now are hosting apps (new competition for Rackspace, which is where I work!)
I’m excited by what VMware’s doing. Why? Because it’s open source. Listen to VMware co-president Tod Nielsen, who tells me what it means.
Yes, we’re seeing new competiton, but we expected that when we released our cloud stack to open source (we knew we were empowering our competitors with our own code. How scary!) So, how will Rackspace compete? On service. See, most companies don’t have geeks who know what node.js is. They’ll need a partner to help them get their businesses online and up to date. The hosting and app platforms are quickly turning into commodities so service is one of the areas that will really matter.
Thanks to VMware for inviting me over yesterday, quite interesting announcements!
This week, VMware introduced a major new PaaS called Cloud Foundry. The project is available as open source software, and it provides a platform for building, deploying and running cloud apps.
“The value proposition for Cloud Foundry is it’s the first real open PaaS, or platform as a service,” explains Tod Nielsen, Co-President of the Application Platform Group at VMware. “And by open we mean we’re going to support multiple frameworks—be it Ruby, Java, Node.js—we’re going to support a whole set of services as well as any cloud. By any cloud, we’re actually going to offer to host a service ourselves, we’re going to work with folks like Rackspace and allow you to offer Cloud Foundry as a service that you’ll provide, and there’ll be a behind the firewall version that enterprises can run in their private cloud. Then we have something we call the Micro Cloud, which instantiates Cloud Foundry onto your lap top so developers can write code themselves, and then they can push to whichever cloud option they choose.”
Because the project is open source, it does not restrict developer choices of frameworks, application infrastructure services and deployment clouds. “The challenge with the cloud today…” says Nielsen, “is it feels like the Hotel California—you get into one cloud and then you get trapped and you can’t get out. If the industry is really going to let this paradigm take it to the next level, it’s got to be open. It’s got to provide the flexibility and freedom for developers and corporations to deploy where they want and when they want and move things around as necessary.”
Cloud Foundry aims to allow developers to remove the cost and complexity of configuring infrastructure and runtime environments for their applications and focus on the application logic.
“One of the things that developers complain about today,” explains Nielsen, “is if they’re in a corporation, to actually get an application deployed requires all kinds of work to provision a server, provision a database, provision middleware, make sure it’s all set up, coordinate with the operations team and write IT tickets. We had one developer say, ‘it’s like I spend all my time writing IT tickets’. The value proposition for Cloud Foundry is we want to help you write code, not tickets.”