VMware on Tuesday launched Cloud Foundry, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that puts developer freedom of choice at the forefront and seeks to break the shackles of proprietary cloud computing offerings.
It's VMware's view that current PaaS offerings are hamstrung by limited framework support, a lack of variety in application and an inability to be deployed in both public and private clouds.
These factors, VMware says, are putting a crimp on cloud development at a time when development opportunities should be exploding.
VMware is rallying developers around the flag of openness with Cloud Foundry, a PaaS offering that works with a variety of development frameworks and languages, application services and cloud deployment environments.
It includes the Spring Framework, an enterprise Java programming model that VMware picked up in its August 2009 acquisition of SpringSource.
But VMware's view of PaaS goes beyond Java: Cloud Foundry represents "a genuinely open direction that can complement the work being done by developers around new frameworks," VMware CEO Paul Maritz said in a webcast held at the company's Palo Alto, Calif.-based headquarters.
VMware is offering developers an invitation-only beta of www.CloudFoundry.com, a multi-tenant public cloud PaaS service that's run by VMware and serves as a test bed for applications.
VMware also launched www.CloudFoundry.org, an open-source project under the Apache 2 license.
In the second quarter, VMware will launch Cloud Foundry Micro Cloud, a downloadable version of Cloud Foundry in a virtual machine that developers can use for testing purposes.
"This will allow developers to build and test their applications on their own machine, with the confidence that their production environment is symmetrical to the development environment," Stephen Herrod, the company's CTO and senior vice president of R&D, said in a Tuesday blog post.
For developers, the fast pace of data centre virtualisation has helped simplify the building of applications, but middleware hasn't managed to keep pace with the rest of the stack. As a result, the middleware experience isn't integrated and is still exceedingly complex, said Rod Johnson, general manager of VMware's SpringSource Division.
VMware sees Cloud Foundry and PaaS as the solution to middleware complexity because it's based on open source and allows developers to avoid getting tied into a single programming model and set of services.
"Open source is where it's at for developers today, and we recognise this," Johnson said.
In addition to Spring for Java, Cloud Foundry supports Ruby On Rails, Sinatra for Ruby, Node.js and other Java Virtual Machine-based frameworks like Grails, Herrod said in the blog post.
In application services, Cloud Foundry currently supports MySQL, MongoDB and Redis, and VMware will add support for other application services "in the coming months," according to Herrod. VMware is also working with industry partners to support other popular third party technologies in addition to VMware's vFabric application services.