VMware Smooths Path to PaaS

Michael Vizard

On the first anniversary of the launch of its open Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) initiative this week, VMware has launched an open source effort designed to make it easier to manage large-scale application deployments on clouds based on either the VMware vSphere management platforms or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

As PaaS continues to gain momentum in the enterprise, Steve Herrod, CTO and senior vice president of research and development at VMware, says Cloud Foundry BOSH is designed to make it easier to manage IT services that are based on clusters of virtual machines that can now be more easily managed together as one logical IT service.

According to Herrod, the Cloud Foundry BOSH markup language is part of the ongoing effort to create an open PaaS environment that supports multiple application development languages in a way that dramatically reduces the amount of time developers have to spend on IT operational issues. The end goal on any PaaS effort, says Herrod, should be to allow developers to spend most of their time on developing applications versus managing IT infrastructure.

Cloud Foundry BOSH is designed to work across instances of VMware vSphere running locally or in the cloud, which Herrod says will also simplify the management of hybrid cloud computing scenarios, especially as applications are moved from development to production environments.

VMware is trying to position Cloud Foundry as an open approach to PaaS in that it supports multiple programming languages, including Java applications based on the SpringSource development environment acquired by VMware, Ruby on Rails and Scala, an extension to Java that scales better across distributed computing environments.

Although none of the other major PaaS providers have come out to support Cloud Foundry BOSH yet, the new offering does serve to highlight the need for ways to better manage application images across heterogeneous cloud computing environments.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see whether customers plow ahead with tactical PaaS deployments based on any number of proprietary technologies, or opt to wait a little longer for a more robust set of PaaS standards to be more widely adopted.

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