VMware, whose core products specialize in virtualizing Windows and Linux workloads, is making some interesting maneuvers in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) space with their Cloud Foundry offering.
a href=”http://www.cloudfoundry.com”>CloudFoundry.com is a hosted PaaS solution, in which people can deploy and run their web apps without ever mucking around with the underlying OS or application stack. There’s also the Micro Cloud Foundry, which is a virtual machine image you can deploy on your own hardware to set up your own Cloud Foundry PaaS. Going even further, the software that powers Cloud Foundry is open source and available on GitHub under an Apache Software License, so anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of PaaS can check it out.
It’s extremely interesting to me that VMware, a company that makes gobs of money by selling complex proprietary software, has so boldly embraced the free software development model for their PaaS offering. It’s also worth noting that the other major Linux PaaS offering, Red Hat’s OpenShift, is not yet open source.
While OpenShift is an all-Linux PaaS, and Microsoft’s Azure is an all-Windows PaaS, Cloud Foundry extends VMware’s overall OS agnosticism. The default offering is Linux, but recent additions to their product have added .NET support.
The long-term value of .NET in Cloud Foundry remains to be seen, since you still need to provide your own legal licenses for Microsoft Windows for each instance (in the parlance of Cloud Foundry: an execution agent or “DEA”) you might deploy; but I think it’s an impressive testament to VMware’s Cloud Foundry design. Because Cloud Foundry runs on Linux but manages Windows-based DEAs the same as any other DEA, developers will have a common model for deploying and scaling both Java and .NET applications, as well the newer frameworks supported by Cloud Foundry.
If you’re a heterogeneous environment, Cloud Foundry offers a one-stop shop for handling diverse workloads.