Thursday, August 20, 2009

SpringSource Enterprise Java Cloud Foundry mixes best of open source with PaaS for application lifecycle efficiency

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S
pringSource made headlines last week when VMware scooped up the Java infrastructure and management firm for $420 million in a move to breed easier cloud migration. Now, the spotlight is on the San Mateo, Calif. company once again as it leverages one of its own recent cloud industry acquisitions.

On Wednesday, SpringSource rolled out a beta of Cloud Foundry, an enterprise Java cloud offering that lets developers deploy and manage Spring, Grails and Java applications in a public cloud environment.

SpringSource is essentially offering a self-service, pay-as-you-go, public cloud deployment platform on which to build, run and manage the entire Java Web application lifecycle. Nice! Cloud Foundry promises to launch and automatically scale Java Web applications in the cloud with a few clicks of a mouse.

This is the clear path for open source and Java developers to the cloud. Microsoft will have its hands full just keeping the .NET developers and operators on the farm, so to speak.

The ability to develop Java applications in the cloud quickly with quality only further eases the deployment of Java applications into cloud containers, either internal, external or both. This must be VMware's thinking ... get the developers on board, and the operators will follow. It's worked before. Only this time it's the virtualized container that's the target -- the cloud OS, rather than the platform OS. And it's the cloud container that now benefits from the tools-to-target synergy.

This also makes moot the rip and replace argument against changing from installed platforms (like Windows). When you're moving the runtime up into a cloud, you don't care what the underlying platform is. You want to be able to develop well, and then get your operations requirements met on on performance, security and cost.

Because these are Java applications, this will appeal to the mission-critical apps set along those requirements. When enterprise CIOs begin to gain the insights into IT financial management of their traditional development and deployment strategies -- and then compare and constrast to these cloud lifecycle methods and costs -- the worm then turns.

The vision we're seeing from VMware and others speaks to dramatically cutting the total and ongoing cost of IT when the full development and deployment equation is factored. It's about Moore's Law moving off of the silicon and up and into the clouds.

Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource, is bragging about the benefits of Cloud Foundry:
“Unlike competitive offerings, our cloud service does not come with compromises; companies can deploy full-feature Java Web applications, built using SpringSource tools. C-level technology executives can seamlessly add cloud computing as a strategic option as part of their development roadmap.”

SpringSource is once again demonstrating the power of open source in the cloud by adding another piece of the “Java in the cloud” puzzle. Cloud Foundry plays off the strength of SpringSource core technologies. But SpringSource is also leveraging technologies from other developers to flesh out the big picture.

For example, SpringSource will rely on Hyperic CloudStatus to gain cloud health monitoring data. SpringSource will also tap Hyperic HQ-powered functionality to offer insights into application performance and service levels. Hyperic HQ works with Cloud Foundry’s technology to automatically scale cloud deployments by understanding how applications are working and interacting with other IT resources.

The VMware Connection

Of course, SpringSource holds several pieces of the “Java in the cloud” puzzle internally. Beyond Cloud Foundry, there's SpringSource’s tc Server. Based on Apache Tomcat, it provides a lightweight container for deploying Java Web applications in the cloud. SpringSource is also ramping up quickly to make its Tool Suite available within the next 90 days. The Tool Suite will offer direct deployment of Java applications—through Cloud Foundry—into the public cloud.

How does this fit into VMware? SpringSource plans to bring Cloud Foundry's capabilities to VMware's vCloud service provider partners and internal VMware vSphere environments to offer infrastructure choice, deployment flexibility and enterprise services.

SpringSource will offer the same capabilities to Amazon Web Services, and plans to enrich Cloud Foundry’s capabilities with enhanced cloud management features and new services in the coming months.

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BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached here and here.