Cloud Foundry Shakes Up the PaaS Scene

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Cloud Foundry is the updated open Platform as a Service (PaaS) project announced Tuesday by VMware. It can support multiple frameworks, multiple cloud providers, and multiple application services all on a cloud scale platform.

“By offering an open architecture in all three dimensions, Cloud Foundry overcomes major limitations found in today’s PaaS solutions,” writes VMware’s Steve Herrod . “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.”

The introduction of the new Cloud Foundry generated a great deal of reaction around the web. Here’s a roundup of notable analysis and commentary:

  • CloudAve – Cloud Foundry is a brilliant move by VMware and has the potential to completely disrupt the PaaS market giving VMware a big boost. They have done something which Microsoft failed to do with Azure. They have a PaaS ready for enterprise and just out of the box. This announcement is also a big win for open source.
  • ReadWriteCloud – The open play is a smart one. And the flexibility of the platform is key to its success. Cloud Foundry will without a doubt pose a real challenge to Google App Engine and other platforms such as Heroku and even Windows Azure. But this is a competitive space with new startups such as DotCloud offering a similar flexibility.
  • InfoWorld – “Flexibility” is the operative word in describing Cloud Foundry. The concept is that a developer can create an application in any framework he or she chooses. Through Cloud Foundry, that application could be connected with any number of application infrastructure services — say, a cloud-based relational database or an in-house database — and be exposed to users via any number of public or private clouds.
  • Gartner (Chris Wolf) – You could say that VMware isn’t stepping on the toes of its provider partners, but it is standing so close to their toes that it is making them uncomfortable. VMware’s not a provider in the traditional sense today, but they are building an infrastructure and operational processes that can allow them to become a provider at the flick-of-a-switch.
  • GigaOm – (VMware’s Charles) Fitzgerald claims that the big victim with this move will be middleware providers such as IBM which have multi-billion businesses helping connect information in huge enterprises. While he’s aware that the licensing revenue for open source software can be a tenth of the original value of the software, he says, “It’s new revenue to us and old revenue to them, and a billion looks pretty good to us.” However the most immediate victims may well be the existing PaaS players such as Salesforce.com, Google and a strong of startups that have been building out products in this space around specific languages.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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