Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is probably not the first company you think of when it comes to software developer conference organizers, but the company's Fusion Developer Summit, wrapping up today in Bellevue, Wash., really brought it with three days of keynotes, breakout sessions and hands-on labs -- all designed to help codederos make the most of its evolving technology.
AMD explained the impetus for the conference on the event Web site:
"Heterogeneous computing is moving into the mainstream, and a broader range of applications are already on the way. As the provider of world-class CPUs, GPUs, and APUs, AMD offers unique insight into these technologies and how they interoperate. We’ve been working with industry and academia partners to help advance real-world use of these technologies, and to understand the opportunities that lie ahead. It’s time to share what we’ve learned so far."
AMD's Fusion APUs (Accelerated Processing Units), which were unveiled in January, combine a multicore CPU, a DirectX 11 video and parallel processing engine, a dedicated Universal Video Decoder 3 (UVD3) HD video acceleration block, and a high-speed bus for carrying data among the APU's cores.
Before the show, I talked with Manju Hegde, corporate VP of AMD's Fusion Experience Program, about his hardware company's interest in putting together a software developer conference.
"When the PC market was young," he said, "it was possible to sell based on technical merits and technology metrics -- basically, processor speed. But as the market matures, and as Apple has shown the world so forcefully, end users care about solutions based on what they want to do -- solutions and experiences -- not megahertz and gigahertz. All these experience that users really care about come from a strong ecosystem between us and developers, but it's an ecosystem that users are rarely exposed to. That's why developer tools and environments -- and conferences like this one -- are important to a company like ours."
In other words, the software is the medium in which the hardware vendor connects to the consumer. It's an obvious relationship, but not necessarily a compelling reason to attend a conference, Hegde admitted.
"Attracting developers isn't easy," Hegde said, "because they very quickly see through fluff. Every company touts their wares to them, and everyone is vying for their attention, so they have very high standards. So it was important to have material of high technical quality at the conference, and solid keynotes."
The event's keynote roster included AMC corporate fellow Phil Rogers ("The Programmer's Guide to the APU Galaxy"); Jem Davies, ARM Fellow and VP of Technology in the company's Media Processing Division ("Compute Power and Energy-Efficiency: Partnerships, Standards and the ARM GPU Perspective"); Microsoft's Herb Sutter, principal architect in the Native Languages group ("Heterogeneous Parallelism at Microsoft"); Corel CTO Graham Brown ("Creating a decision framework for OpenCL usage"); and Eric Demers, AMD corporate VP and CTO in the Graphics Division ("Evolution of AMD's Graphics Core, and Preview of Graphics Core Next").
AMD is making all of these keynotes available on the Web here. They're all good, but Graham Brown's OpenCL talk was a standout. (The Open Computing Language is a framework for parallel programming of heterogeneous systems.) Also, Phil Rogers laid out the roadmap for AMD's Fusion System Architecture (FSA) for APCs and PC platforms at the show. And Herb Sutter announced Microsoft's plans to add new massively parallel computing capabilities to the next version of its C++ compiler and to graphics processing units (GPUs).
AMD also made some news at the show by announcing the first round of companies participating in the AMD Fusion Fund program. This program was created to "initiate strategic investments in companies that are developing unique, digital consumer, and professional experiences that take advantage of the power of the innovative AMD Fusion family of Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) products," the company said in a statement.
Among the new Fusion Fund partners, AMD threw a spotlight on videoconferencing software maker ViVu. In February, AMD demo'd a system it created with ViVu, called "AMD Wireless TV," at the Consumer Electronics Show. This week the two companies announced that AMD is investing in ViVu through the Fusion Fund. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
More than 700 developers attended AMD's first software developer conference, an unexpectedly high (and encouraging) number, said Hegde.
"At the end of the day, this conference gave us a chance to let all the developers know how we are making it much easier for them to capture all the compute and graphics capabilities that are going to be in our roadmap," Hegde said.
(BTW: I just learned that AMD is working with Morgan Kaufmann, an imprint of Elsevier Science & Technology Books, to publish a new book for developers entitled "Heterogeneous Computing with OpenCL." Lots of co-authors on this one, including Benedict Gaster, Lee Howes, David R. Kaeli, Perhaad Mistry and Dana Schaa. Look for the book in August.)
Posted by John K. Waters on 06/16/2011 at 1:30 PM0 comments
Java toolmaker ZeroTurnaround has broadened its "attack campaign against redeploys, the natural enemy of Java developers," says its says CEO David Booth, with the release of JRebel 4.0, the latest version of a JVM plug-in designed to allow developers to make on-the-fly code changes in Java class files.
ZeroTurnaround claims that Java developers spend an average of 10.5 minutes of every coding hour redeploying their apps to see changes. The company bases that claim on its own recent survey of 1,000+ Java EE developers on turnaround time, tools, and application containers in the Java ecosystem. The company's raizon d'etre is to reduce that time, Booth said.
"When Java developers want to see the effects of new code (or make changes to existing code), they have to redeploy their entire application -- even to see the smallest changes," Booth said in a statement. "We'd like to enable Java developers to start up their container when they start working, and know that's the last time they'll have to do it all day. With JRebel 4.0, we're 95% of the way there."
The JRebel plug-in is designed to integrate with the JVM and app servers on the class loader level, so it doesn't create new class loaders, but extends existing ones.
Version one of the plugin was released more than three years ago. This latest version supports reloading changes to Enterprise JavaBeans 3.x, anonymous class reloading, the Instrumentation API and HotSwap, and Full Seam 2.x. This version is also expands support to 35 frameworks. The company emphasizes that JRebel uses the Instrumentation API to instrument the application server class loaders and other basic classes, "…but the API does not play part in the actual reloading process…."
JRebel supports Java 1.4 and Java 5+. It also supports a number of application servers, including, among others: WebLogic, WebSphere, Tomcat, JBoss, GlassFish, Google's App Engine, Apple's Web Objects, Jetty, and NetWeaver.
The company has also integrated JRebel with the Eclipse IDE. JRebel for Eclipse is available from the Eclipse Marketplace.
The company sells the JRebel plug-in on an annual subscription basis, but it's offering a 30-day eval download.
Posted by John K. Waters on 06/09/2011 at 10:13 AM0 comments
Miguel de Icaza took time out from his hectic starting-a-company schedule to chat with me this morning about his new Mono venture, Xamarin, which he and other Novell ex-pats are just getting off the ground. He announced the startup in his May 16 blog post, hot on the heels of news that Attachmate Corporation, which acquired Novell in April, had laid off virtually all members of the Mono team.
De Icaza was able to confirm those layoffs with some confidence, because he had to conduct them himself. "It really could have been worse," he said. "I had to say, hey, you're no longer employed, but then I could say, and neither am I."
De Icaza is, of course, the originator of the Mono Project, an open-source implementation of the .NET Framework based on C# and the Common Language Runtime (CLR). In 1999 he and Nat Friedman founded a company called Ximian, originally to provide Linux and Unix desktop apps based on the GNOME platform. That company became a driving force behind Mono, and it was acquired by Novell in 2003.
But Mono never truly flowered under Novell, de Icaza said, especially in the mobile space. In fact, one of the reasons he is sanguine about the layoffs is that he and his Mono mates have been trying to spinoff the technology from Novell for more than a year.
"We all thought that Mono could really shine on its own," de Icaza said. "For years we've been wrapped in this bubble of Novell, and our mobile efforts didn't align with the strategies of an infrastructure company. We pursued them because a lot of people asked us to do it, and we're passionate about it. I guess you could say that I welcome being laid off, because it gave us a reason to get together and do what we all wanted to do."
Under Novell, the Mono team did create MonoTouch, which allows developers to create C# and .NET apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices, and Mono for Android for developers creating apps for devices running that OS. Novell owns both of those technologies, which means that Xamarin will be building some of its initial products from scratch, including a new commercial .NET offering for Apple's iOS, and a new commercial .NET offering for Android. Xamarin will continue to contribute to the Mono project and the open source implementation of Silverlight known as Moonlight, de Icaza said, and he plans to explore "Moonlight opportunities" in the mobile space and the Mac appstore.
"At Novell we built both open source and proprietary products," de Icaza said. "The open source code is, well, open source. And the proprietary things are owned by Novell. We need to rebuild those things if we want to be in the market with similar products."
De Icaza added that he'd be happy to take over those proprietary projects if Attachmate decides not to pursue them, but he's not waiting around for that decision to be made.
"This is a very big acquisition," he says. "They have their own execution plan, and Mono isn't necessarily their top priority. So, we need to have a plan that doesn't depend on their timetable. We can't really afford to wait around."
De Icaza wouldn't offer any name or numbers, because "all the paperwork hasn't been completed yet," but he did tell me that most of the laid-off Mono team members would be joining the company.
On the speculation of the funding behind Xamarin, de Icaza says his fledgling company currently has two committed angels, neither of which is Microsoft, and he's providing some of the initial funding himself. "I'm not going to rule out that I'd like to have Microsoft as an angel investor," de Icaza told me. "We have talked to a lot of people at the company, and they do like us. But for that matter, I wouldn't mind having Google and eBay and RedHat and eTrade and Novell. We're pitching to everybody who will listen right now."
And what about that new company name?
"We've used monkey themes for many years," de Icaza said. "Ximian was a play on simian. Mono is Spanish for monkey. Xamarin comes from the tamarin monkey. And we kept the X, though to tell you the truth, I can't remember why we used it in the first place."
De Icaza expects his new company, which will be headquartered initially in Boston, to be incorporated early next week. Stay tuned.
Posted by John K. Waters on 05/20/2011 at 12:32 PM4 comments
"Refactor mercilessly," say the Agilistas -- especially the XPers. Good advice, but the process of changing a program's internal structure to make it easier to understand and cheaper to modify without altering its external behavior can be challenging and messy.
Enter Headway Software, a Waterford, Ireland-based company on a mission to make refactoring easier and more effective. The company's newly released refactoring tool, Restructure101, is the fulfillment of a vision, the company's CEO, Chris Chedgey, told me in an e-mail, of "nothing less than the manipulation of software files and functions with the same ease that has been available to hardware engineers for decades."
"The key is to understand the vast number of interdependencies in as much detail as necessary," Chedgey said, "without overwhelming the user. The LSM was the breakthrough we needed."
The LSM, or Levelized Structure Map, is an interactive visual model designed to allow software architects to delve into structural problems and explore solutions by directly manipulating the model in a sandbox environment, Chedgey said. LMSs "levelize" items into rows or levels. Items in the same row are not interdependent, but every item on that level depends on at least one item on the level just below it. This display technique allows developers to see the entire code base at once, including dependency information.
The maps actually exist within a simulated sandbox, so it's simple to drag-and-drop hunks of code from level to level, untangle the code and reduce complexity. Once the refactoring simulation is completed, devs export an "action list" to their favorite IDE and work through the actual changes there.
Both Java and .NET IDEs are supported. And Headway provides a Web-based repository for tracking progress on a project-wide basis.
Restructure101 provides a number of discovery and manipulation capabilities on top of the LSM. Among them: the ability to find package tangles and break them by dragging and dropping packages, classes, and methods/fields. It also supports other direct manipulations, such as creating sub-packages or inner classes (wrapping), removing package structure (flattening), and automatic repackaging.
Headway bills itself as the first independent software vendor to focus purely on software structure and architectural control and the fundamental tenets of building maintainable and extensible software. The company's products (Structure101, Structure101 Build, and Restructure101) use reverse engineering, structural analysis, and architectural mapping techniques for Java, .Net and C/C++. It also offers third-party parsers for ActionScript, PHP, SQL, SysML and UML.
Posted by John K. Waters on 05/19/2011 at 10:45 AM0 comments
Google sure knows how to get the attention of software developers -- 5,000+ of whom nearly blew the roof off San Francisco's Moscone Center West during the opening keynote of the search giant's annual Google I/O Conference on Tuesday when they learned they would each be getting a free Samsung Galaxy tablet.
But getting their attention and winning their hearts and minds are two different things, and the latter is absolutely essential if the company really wants to become a platform player.
This isn't the first time Google I/O attendees went home with pricey swag. Google started what has become a tradition by handing out Android phones at the first event in 2008. Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady, whom I ran into at the show, calls this a seeding strategy. If the success of Android phones is any indication, he said, it's a strategy that's probably working.
"This is a numbers game," he said. "There are, what, a couple thousand iPad apps? Android tablets have a long way to go to catch up to that. On the other hand, Android phones have a bigger market share collectively than the iPhone. It could be argued that giving away the hardware platform you'd like developers to target is an effective strategy."
Industry watchers at comScore reported in March that Android smartphones actually moved into the number one spot in January, with 31.2 percent of the smartphone market. In the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, Apple's iPhone OS hadmore than triple the market share of Android phones, according to Nielsen. The iPhone OS market share was 28 percent, compared to Android's measly 9 percent.
That's a hell of a harvest.
The limited-edition Galaxy 10.1 Honeycomb-based tablet (Android 3.0) is a sweet device, and the hundreds of attendees hunkered down in every nook and cranny of the conference center fondling them seemed entranced. But Google's "seeding" didn't stop there: On Wednesday the company added Verizon 4G LTE hotspots to the swag bag, along with a promise to provide every attendee with a Chrome-powered notebook when the first such devices hit the market in June. (More on this from my colleague Kurt Mackie here.)
Day One of this year's conference was all about Android. Google execs talked up the upcoming Android 2.4 release, clunkily nicknamed "Ice Cream Sandwich." No launch date was given, but a big promise was made: this release will merge Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).
"Our goal with Ice Cream Sandwich is to deliver one operating system that works everywhere, regardless of device," Hugo Barra, product management director for Google's Android group wrote on the Google Code Blog. "Ice Cream Sandwich will bring everything you love about Honeycomb on your tablet to your phone, including the holographic user interface, more multitasking, the new launcher and richer widgets."
During his conference opening keynote, Barra also promised to address the platform fragmentation problem that has plagued the Android ecosystem almost from its birth -- 300+ devices with who-knows which version of the OS; it ain't pretty. Google is partnering with a bunch of companies to coordinate the update process. The "founding team" includes Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Motorola and AT&T. Customers buying new smartphones from these vendors will receive Android platform updates for eighteen months after the first launch -- if the hardware supports the update, Barra said.
If these companies can get their upgrade act together, they'll improve the platform for consumers, certainly, but they'll also make life easier for Android developers (who cheered the announcement almost as loudly as they did the free tablets). And that's bound to win a few more hearts and minds.
Day One of the conference also saw the launch of the headline-grabbing Music Beta program, a cloud-based music service available now by invite only; a new Web-based movie rental service available from the Android Market ; and a new hardware/accessories support offering, dubbed Android Open Accessory. All very cool.
Day Two of the show shifted to the Chrome OS and the new Chromebooks, which prompted one attendee to opine, "It feels like Google is competing with itself with Android and Chrome."
To me Google's Chrome OS strategy seems to be the realization of a concept former Sun Microsystems' CEO Scott McNealy flogged for years: "The network is the computer." I'll be watching with interest to see if, through Google, the industry has finally caught up to that vision.
As for what one attendee called Google's "Oprah moment," I encourage the company to continue seeding the developer ecosystem with hardware platforms at its annual conference. Two words to consider as you plan next year's show: vehicle telematics.
Posted by John K. Waters on 05/12/2011 at 10:51 AM1 comments
When I heard that Oracle would be proposing the Hudson project to the Eclipse Foundation, a few things struck me: 1) Oracle is getting better at dancing back from stepped-on toes in lively open source communities; 2) This is the very move IBM made when it created the Eclipse Foundation; and, 3) What will this move mean for the Jenkins fork?
During the first few years of the Foundation's existence, virtually all of my conversations with executive director Mike Milinkovich included a question about "demonstrating its independence" from IBM. I asked him if he thought Oracle's move would effectively satisfy concerns about Oracle's stewardship and perceived control of the Hudson project.
"Absolutely," he told me in an e-mail. "By the time the project is officially created, the 'Hudson' trademark will be the legal property of the Eclipse Foundation. The Hudson project will be a diverse, community-led project running under the Eclipse community’s development and IP processes and rules. Actions speak louder than words, and those are some pretty tangible actions."
Several companies are going to be providing development resources for an Eclipse-based Hudson project, including Sonatype, Tasktop and VMware. VMware's participation in particular will be a boost to the project, says Jason van Zyl, founder and CTO of Sonatype, because of the SpringSource connection. (VMware owns SpringSource.)
"Many users of Hudson work in the enterprise Java space so an endorsement and provisioning of resources for the Hudson project by SpringSource is a huge vote of confidence," he said.
As for the Jenkins fork, "If this move had happened some months ago, it may have prevented [it]," Milinkovich said. "But at this point it's safe to assume that the split will remain. I am as interested as anyone to see how this will all play out."
Oracle's announcement likely came as a surprise to the Jenkins community. Oracle kept an unusually tight lid on this announcement. (I had to pinky swear to keep it under my hat until this morning to get an early briefing.) The Eclipse Foundation's director of marketing, Ian Skerrett, even tweeted an apology to @jenkinsci: "If anyone in the Jenkins community has questions about Eclipse feel free to contact me; sorry for your morning surprise."
IDC analyst Al Hilwa noted that the Jenkins community seemed to have been operating under the assumption that Oracle "was going to do some bad things with the code," and overreacted when they created the fork. "It may be time to come together again under one code base, now that it's under the Eclipse foundation," he said.
UPDATE: Hudson creator Kohsuke Kawaguchi just posted his reaction to the news today on his blog. He said the news was "quite a surprise," and added:
"[On the] one hand, I think this definitely shows the great success of the Jenkins project post divorce…. Were it not for the success of Jenkins, they wouldn’t be giving up the project…. But at the same time, I just wish Oracle saw that coming a few months earlier, while we were still seeking the middle ground. We were very interested in having the trademark moved under the custody of a neutral third party, but they were very clear that that’s not acceptable to them. And it also disappoints me that they decided not to reach out to the Jenkins community about this move, but I guess they are never really interested in working with us."
I asked Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop and founder of Eclipse Mylyn, what he thought this move would do for users of the popular CI tool and the growing population of plugin makers.
"For users the answer is straightforward," he said, "as Eclipse is a clear go-to place for enterprise-ready open source tools. For plug-in makers… Eclipse has very clear and hardened guidelines on APIs, which provide a significant benefit to any growing plug-in ecosystem. However, a key reason for the success of Hudson was a rapid pace of innovation in the plug-in ecosystem, which has, in part, come from Hudson’s permissive approach to committer rights." "
"The rate of innovation that comes from this kind of freedom of evolution will need to be combined with the API hardening needed by enterprise consumers," he continued. "Eclipse’s endorsement of GitHub as an extension of the Eclipse contribution ecosystem is one mechanism that could help combine the best of both worlds."
Posted by John K. Waters on 05/04/2011 at 12:33 PM0 comments
If you haven't been following the evolution of the Jease open-source content management system (CMS), you should. The now two-year-old project was conceived to solve some of the problems developers face when building database-driven Web applications with Java.
Jease (an abbreviation of "Java with Ease") started out as a basic CMS framework with no "system" pretentions. Back in early 2010, project founder Maik Jablonski declared his simple aim to create a framework that makes it easy for Web devs to create custom content structures (FAQs, special Web site content sections). And he built the framework on top of three open source technologies: the db4o object-oriented database, the Apache Lucene information retrieval library, and the ZK Ajax Web application framework. Jease now also supports McObject's Perst OO embedded database.
Since then, the project has bloomed with an expanded mission to create a full-blown CMS, while honoring its keep-it-simple roots. The project is evolving fast: Version 1.7 was released in February, and 1.8 was released in March.
Version 2.0, which was released this week, represents a "big leap" toward turning the Jease framework into a true CMS, Jablonski says.
"The main theme for the 2.0 release line is to continue the journey from a developer-oriented Content-Management-Framework to a user-friendly Content-Management-System which tries to make publishing in the Internet as easy as possible," he wrote in in a blog post announcing the release. "Nevertheless, Jease targets Java Web developers who want to things getting done without headaches."
The latest release adds a number of features and capabilities to the evolving CMS, including instant preview, a link checker, a redirect service, translation capabilities, and instant relocation handling of moved and/or renamed content. A full list of new features and bug fixes in Jease 2.0 is available on Jease.org.
Jease 2.0 is available under the GNU General Public License V3. There's a nice demo available here. Keep in mind that, though jease.org runs on the Apache Tomcat servlet container, this demo is runs on Jetty.
Posted on 04/28/2011 at 11:12 AM0 comments
Zend Technologies and Rightscale announced this week a jointly-developed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) architecture for PHP developers. The announcement was kind of overshadowed by the big VMware PaaS news, but this is a dynamic duo you should keep an eye on.
Zend, of course, is the Cupertino, Calif.-based creator and commercial maintainer of the PHP dynamic scripting language. Zend is run by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, who are key contributors to PHP and the creators of the core PHP scripting engine. RightScale is a Santa Barbara-based provider of an automated, Web-based (and eponymous) cloud management platform.
The heart of RightScale's management platform is a set of pre-built ServerTemplates for common server configurations. "It's a way to assemble a machine configuration out of building blocks," RightScale's CTO and co-founder Dr. Thorsten von Eicken explained to me last year, when his company first partnered with Zend to release a set of RightScale ServerTemplates for deploying Apache with PHP. Working together, the two companies made it possible to deploy Zend-based PHP apps across multiple clouds via the RightScale management platform.
Now they've released the RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack, which is designed to provide massive scalability and high availability for PHP apps running in the cloud. The solution combines the RightScale management platform with the Zend Server Web app server.
Rightscale CEO and co-founder Michael Crandel told me that the new product was a direct response to customer demand.
"We've seen a real movement toward platform-as-a-service and ease-of-use for developers, who really don't want to mess with these ugly things called servers and storage volumes, but just want to upload their code and run it," Crandel said.
"Both companies wanted to create a PHP PaaS, with the characteristic elasticity of a cloud platform, but also one that would be customizable," said Kent Mitchell, Zend's director of product management. "We've combined the best practices of Zend with the best practices of RightScale to create a reference PHP architecture that you can launch basically the push of a button."
A big selling point for this solution is likely to be its flexibility -- Mitchell calls it "open PaaS" or "customizable PaaS." A platform for PHP from Zend's perspective, he said, shouldn't be tied to single cloud provider, should be application-centric, and should handle the app whole lifecycle.
"If a customer wants to move from Amazon to Rackspace, they should be able to do that," he said. "And as we move forward, people aren't going to be monitoring servers anymore; they're going to be monitoring applications. They'll want to know things like, I'm having a problem with my e-commerce application, not that server XYZ is heavily loaded. And though lots of PaaS companies handle just the deployment or test or just one part of the lifecycle, we believe that it's important to the full lifecycle: development tooling, test and QA, staging, and production deployment."
"Because of the way RightScale works, and the way Zend is very flexible," Mitchell added, "what we've got here is a solution that's a PaaS, where you can sort of lift the hood of the car, tweak the engine a little bit if you want, slam the hood back down, and now you've got your PaaS. If you don't like MySQL as the database and you want to use, say, Oracle, you just lift the hood, pull out MySQL and put in Oracle, and close the hood. Now every developer that fires it up will start with an Oracle instance."
The RightScale Zend PHP Solution Pack comes with a bunch of tools and features, including a production-ready, cloud-based environment that includes the Zend Server, the Zend Server Cluster Manager, and RightScale's Premium Onboarding, which is a step-by-step path to deploying on the cloud using best practices from the two companies.
Stephen O'Grady, Principal Analyst with RedMonk, contributed a comment for the press release that I thought was worth passing on: "Considering PHP's ubiquity on the web, it wasn't a question of if it embraced the cloud, but when," he said. "With the recently announced RightScale/Zend partnership, the two companies are offering PHP users the best of both worlds, with the time to market of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and the flexibility of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)."
More details about the solution pack are available on the Web site, where you can also sign up for an intro Webinar scheduled for April 28 at 11:00 am PDT.
Posted by John K. Waters on 04/21/2011 at 2:18 PM0 comments
VMware has launched an open Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) product, which my colleague Michael Domingo reported on last week. The Palo Alto, CA-based virtualization vendor is billing its new Cloud Foundry as the industry's first open PaaS offering, a "new generation of application platform, architected specifically for cloud computing environments." Cloud Foundry is available as a cloud service operated by VMware, but also as a downloadable VM called "Micro Cloud." It's still in beta, but the source code for the project is available now on http://cloudfoundry.org/.
I heard from several people about this beta release. IDC analyst Al Hilwa, who was in Las Vegas covering the MIX11 event when the news broke, was the first to fire off an e-mail.
"Here is an infrastructure player that understands the value of application platforms and has moved to systematically assemble a cloud stack through smart acquisitions," Hilwa said. "While we have heard similar announcements from VMware a couple of times before, this one looks like the real thing."
It's "the real thing," Hilwa believes, because VMware is finally ready to put the platform into the hands of developers to play with, and plans to release the entire stack in open source "for anyone to leverage."
"While VMware's offering will be competing with Microsoft Azure, it will more directly compete for Java workloads with RedHat," he added. "VMware has set itself the ambitious goal of providing a choice of frameworks so that apps can be ported from different worlds [e.g. Java with Spring, Ruby on Rails, etc.]. This is an ambitious approach, and we should watch VMware to see if it's able to add more and more frameworks quickly enough, or generate the open source traction, to bring others into the fold."
Cloud Foundry is an important strategic move that positions VMware as "another emerging pole for Java developers," Hilwa says.
"We are living in disruptive times," Hilwa said. "And it's at exactly at times like these that players move into adjacent businesses and try to change the game. VMware clearly hopes to do that for PaaS platforms."
I also got a heads up from the indefatigable Liz Clinkenberg Christina Dalit about blog postings from the SpringSource crew on the news. It's been about 20 months since VMware acquired the chief commercial sponsor of the open source Spring Framework project. And it's still a surprisingly vocal group.
Rod Johnson, SVP and GM of VMware's SpringSource product division (and founder of SpringSource), posted what started out as a slightly canned-sounding statement about the news, but went on to offer a nice diagram of the Cloud Foundry model. He also observed: "To date, there hasn't been a strong, open PaaS destination for Java. The millions of Java developers have largely been left to fend for themselves in the cloud, with weaker options than have been available, to, say, Ruby developers. We're changing that."
He also encouraged developers to sign up for a beta account here, to download the source code and get involved in the project.
SpringSource team member Peter Ledbrook does a good job of explaining how Grails and Cloud Foundry work together on his blog "One Step Deployment with Grails and Cloud Foundry." Team member James Tyrrell talks about the integration of Cloud Foundry and Spring Roo on his blog "Roo + Cloud Foundry = Productivity in the Cloud." Great posts.
Cisco Cloud Evangelist Brian Gracely makes a stab at providing "101 Thoughts about the 'Cloud Foundry' Announcement" on his JavaLobby blog. I didn't count them, but I think he gets pretty close.
VMware has published a useful FAQ page, and you'll find video on YouTube on the CloudFoundry Channel. I liked the video by Jerry Chen, senior director of VMware's Application Platforms group, but there are others, and I'd expect more to come for a while, so you might want to subscribe.
Posted by John K. Waters on 04/18/2011 at 3:25 PM1 comments