VMware Opens vCloud for Java, Python Developers

VMware wants developers to build software for its vCloud infrastructure, and it's giving them the tools to do it.

To that end, the virtualization market leader released two new open source software development kits (SDKs) last week. The kits -- one for Java and one for Python -- are targeted toward independent software vendors accessing VMware vCloud APIs.

Enterprise developers can use the vCloud API kits to build internal clouds based on the VMware stack. The kits help with workflow automation and provisioning of vCloud services. Developers can also use the kits to develop applications that deploy and manage virtualized workloads in internal and external clouds.

The kits help developers of Java or Python applications tap into vCloud resources, according to Ovum analyst Tony Baer. "It's a way of making life simpler for developers who want to vCloud-enable their applications," he added.

The company also announced the availability of some open source client libraries and tools for vCloud. The "libcloud" Python library gives developers access to popular cloud services. Another resource is "jclouds," which is an open source framework supporting Java development across clouds from multiple providers. Tools include "Ant," an open source Java build tool, and "Apache Maven," a Java project management tool. These two tools are enabled in vCloud through the jclouds plug-in.

Baer expects VMware soon to offer SDKs for Ruby and PHP. "They're expanding their developer ecosystem," he said. "And that's a smart move on their part, given the commoditization of the hypervisor. They need that ecosystem -- those developers -- to stay competitive."

The vCloud API, introduced last year, is an open and RESTful API that supports multitenancy. It's based on the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) and supports the uploading and downloading of so-called "vApps," which are OVF-based applications optimized for the cloud. VMware developed OVF as a platform-independent packaging and distribution format for virtual machines.

The vCloud initiative is designed to pull together a set of tools, technologies and guidelines that enable on-premise and off-premise clouds to work together more easily. Aimed at the enterprise, VMware unveiled its vCloud initiative last September. The vCloud platform essentially federates compute capacity on demand between virtual datacenters and cloud service providers.

Paul Maritz, VMware's president and CEO, initially described the vCloud initiative as a solution accelerator for cloud computing.

"Until now, businesses have faced too high a hurdle to realize the benefits of cloud computing, including wholesale disruptive infrastructure and application changes," Maritz said at the time. He added that the vCloud infrastructure would bring together "industry innovators to deliver enterprise-class cloud computing for any customer and any application."

The vCloud initiative has garnered wide support among VMware's partners, including BT, Rackspace, SAVVIS, Sungard, T-Systems and Verizon Business. New software offerings have been rolled out by two partners -- including Cloudera, a commercial distributor of the open source Hadoop data storage and processing platform, and WebAppVM, a maker of cloud application management solutions. Those two companies both used SDKs that leverage vCloud Express, a pay-as-you-go infrastructure.

VMware's recently acquired SpringSource technology is missing from this developer ecosystem expansion plan, Baer noted. SpringSource is the commercial implementer of the popular open source Spring framework for Java and .NET.

"They're not doing this in conjunction with the SpringSource group," Baer said, "which shows me that they're not yet thinking about the potential of these converged technologies. I'm not sure they really understand what they have with SpringSource, and VMware is still figuring out what it wants its cloud to be."

VMware submitted the vCloud API specification to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMFT) standards body last September. DMFT certification is still pending.

VMware may be the first to submit a cloud-computing interface to the DMFT, but they're not the only vendor to release a cloud API. Amazon leads the pack with its popular Web Services API, while Citrix has released its Xen Cloud and Red Hat delivered its Delta Cloud. The DTMF itself is reportedly planning to release an API this year developed by its members.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].