IBM, Pivotal Partner To Push Cloud Foundry PaaS Development

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IBM said Wednesday it is backing Cloud Foundry, an open source platform-as-a-service being developed under the wing of Pivotal, the EMC-VMware big data startup.

By teaming up with Pivotal and Cloud Foundry, IBM wants to help developers focus on getting apps to the cloud without having to worry about whether the underlying technology will be compatible.

The first product of the IBM-Pivotal partnership is IBM WebSphere Liberty, a lightweight version of IBM's WebSphere Application Server that helps developers respond to enterprise and market needs more quickly by getting less complex, rapid development and deployment of Web, mobile, social and analytic applications using fewer resources, according to IBM.

[Related: Adapting To The Era Of Big Data And Cloud Requires New Partnerships]

In another example of the IBM-Pivotal collaboration, the vendors are holding a joint conference for Cloud Foundry from Sept. 8-9 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Launched in 2011, Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks and application services. The technology makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications, according to the organization.

IBM is responding to vendors' growing appetite for apps that run on the cloud, Chris Ferris, IBM's chief technology officer for the cloud interoperability, told CRN.

"That's what this is all about -- getting to the cloud, fast," Ferris said.

Companies like IBM are feeling the pressure to develop applications in order to keep up with the rapid pace of development, he said, driven in large part by mobile devices.

In other words, employees using their own devices for work are discovering new apps that enterprise-level companies in particular have not yet adopted. To be competitive, companies need to keep up and focus on users' demands, as well as fast-changing technology, he said.

To do that, developers need to be able to innovate, develop and scale apps fast, Ferris said.

From a channel perspective, open source and open cloud serves partners by giving them choices, he said.

Cloud Foundry is "like an operating system for the cloud," Andy Piper, developer advocate for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal, told CRN.

It doesn't matter which cloud, Piper said, and people can bend and shape the platform in the way they want to, like they did with Linux. "It's all about choice. We're not about restricting you," Piper said.

NEXT: What this means for the channel

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