VMware's Cloud Foundry Turns One, Gets New Development Tools

VMware's Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service had its first birthday Wednesday, and the company celebrated by announcing new partnerships and tools aimed at making it easier for developers to use.

One new addition is CloudFoundry.org, a new source code management system that simplifies the process by which developers submit code to Cloud Foundry and keep track of changes. VMware also announced that Cloud9, CollabNet, ServiceMesh, SOASTA and eBay subsidiary X.commerce are now using Cloud Foundry in various capacities.

VMware also rolled out Cloud Foundry BOSH, describing it as "an open source tool chain for release engineering, deployment and lifecycle management of large-scale distributed services."

Unveiled last April under the Apache license, Cloud Foundry is a key part of VMware's cloud computing strategy. Developers can use Cloud Foundry to rewrite apps in Java so that they'll run well on private clouds, and it works with many development frameworks, including .NET, Ruby, Node.js and Spring, the last of which VMware picked up in its August 2009 acquisition of SpringSource.

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In VMware's view, this flexibility positions Cloud Foundry as the "Linux of the cloud," giving developers the freedom to build apps using whichever tools they prefer, and preventing them from getting "locked" into a particular platform.

"Customers want to have the flexibility to move from a private cloud to a public cloud, from a public cloud to a private cloud or between public cloud providers, and not be locked into any particular cloud," VMware CTO Stephen Herrod said in a Wednesday blog post. "As an open platform as a service, Cloud Foundry is designed to run on a wide variety of clouds and cloud infrastructure."

Cloud Foundry hasn't been much of a play for VMware channel partners, but Ken Phelan, CTO of Montvale, N.J.-based Gotham Technology Partners, expects PaaS to become an important means of differentiation.

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"These are great technologies, and the channel is going to have to use them to add value in the cloud space in order to align better with business, instead of infrastructure," Phelan said. "If you're just trying to ride the virtualization wave, you'll eventually have to look at things like Cloud Foundry and Windows Azure and make them part of your value add."

VMware lured away two of Google's top engineers to design and build Cloud Foundry. Mark Lucovsky, technical director at VMware, is still with the company, but Derek Collison, chief architect of VMware's Cloud Services division, left the company in February and is planning to release his own commercial version of Cloud Foundry in the coming months, according to a recent report from ZDnet.

Cloud Foundry is still in beta, and VMware hasn't yet revealed what it plans to charge developers for using the platform.