VMware's SpringSource Partners with Google on Cloud Computing

VMware and Google are joining forces to make life easier for developers aiming their apps at the cloud.

The two companies announced this week a series of collaborations that will enable Java developers to use Google and VMware tools on cloud apps and deployments of Spring Java applications on the Google App Engine.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz unveiled the collaboration plan this week during a keynote at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

"Companies are actively looking to move toward cloud computing," Maritz said. "They are certainly attracted by the economic advantages associated with cloud, but increasingly are focused on the business agility and innovation promised by cloud computing…. VMware and
Google are aligning to reassure our mutual customers and the Java community that choice and portability are of utmost importance to both companies. We will work to ensure that modern applications can run smoothly within the firewalls of a company's datacenter or out in the public cloud environment."

The collaboration plan includes new support for Spring Java apps on the Google App Engine; combining the capabilities of Spring Roo, a next generation rapid application development tool, with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT); and tighter integration of VMware's Spring Insight performance tracing technology and Google's Speed Tracer.

"Google needs an ecosystem, and VMware is moving to create a larger stack for a cloud computing platform, so it makes sense that these two companies would try find ways to be complementary," said Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. "But beyond that there's an implicit acknowledgement here by Google that Spring is an important development framework, and that the community around it is essential for the cloud ecosystem that Google wants."

"We're not going to see one-cloud-fits all when it comes to application development and deployment," Gardner added. "We're going to see domains around specific development frameworks, toolsets, IDEs, and environments. And they will need to find their own way to the cloud. If you're developing cloud capabilities like Google is, you're going to be careful to pick and chose how you crawl walk and run toward the right platforms, formats, standards, communities, etc. They're clearly saying that they think Spring is a front runner, and we're going to make sure that the Spring community knows and likes Google's cloud services."

VMware also recently partnered with software-as-a-service provider to build a platform, dubbed VMforce, for building and running Java applications in the cloud. The new platform combines VMware's vSphere virtualization platform, the SpringSource Java development framework, and Salesforce's cloud computing platform.

The Salesforce and Google partnerships indicate that VMware wants to provide the "picks and shovels" to the cloud providers, but does not want to become a cloud provider itself. "That's a very interesting and savvy approach," he said. "Microsoft and IBM are providing the picks and shovels, but also the clouds. We should probably expect the same thing from Oracle and a few others. It remains to be seen how effective a do-it-all approach will be. VMware's ecumenical approach allows them to work with any pure cloud provider."

Google also unveiled a new version of its App Engine, called App Engine for Business.

The App Engine is a suite of the tools and services for building and scaling Web apps on Google's infrastructure. Applications developed using the App Engine Software Development Kit (SDK) can be uploaded and hosted by Google. Those apps can then utilize Google's bandwidth and computing power. The new Business version is designed to allow companies to build and maintain their own apps on Google's infrastructure. App Engine for Business adds features designed to make it easy for enterprise developers to build apps that are secure by default and easy to scale as traffic and data storage needs grow.

"Google's App Engine for Business offering basically says, you don't have to look under the covers," explained Frank Gillett, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. "We'll take your Spring app, make it scale, and you don't have to think about it. It's platform-as-a-service for the Spring Framework on Google's infrastructure."

Google is aiming the new version of its App Engine squarely at companies building their businesses in the cloud. According to Google, it supports "internal applications used by individuals, teams, or the entire company;" as well as "external applications such as the company website, public web services, customer-facing or partner-facing applications, or even the company's product."

Gillett isn't so sure that VMware will stick to the tools and stay out of the cloud-provider business. "They might run their own instance just to get the experience and knowledge that comes from running it," he said. "Microsoft is very clear that operating your software on behalf of your customers is a good learning exercise, a good way to learn about your software. So I wouldn't be surprised to see VMware offering its own version down the road."

A preview of the App Engine for Business is currently available now by invitation. Sign up here to get invited.

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].