Cloud Foundry Celebrates First Year, Releases Deployment Tool

Virtualization vendor VMware celebrated the first anniversary of its Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) today with a mid-day soirée at its Palo Alto, Calif. offices, the announcement of several new partnerships and the launch of a new deployment tool.

The deployment tool, dubbed BOSH, is a tool chain designed to facilitate the operation of production instances of Cloud Foundry, explained David McJannet director of cloud an application services in VMware's Application Platform group. It is aimed at large Cloud Foundry implementations, he said, and it's used for release engineering, deployment and lifecycle management of large-scale distributed services.

BOSH is actually technology that VMware has been using to run its own 500+ virtual machine Cloud Foundry cluster, McJannet told this site.

"As anybody who's running a large-scale distributed system would have to do, we built a whole set of tooling that allows people to manage the system at scale," McJannet said. "For example, how do I update the path level on a component, or swap out hardware under the covers, without having my applications notice? How do I apportion where this application is physically deployed on this pool of shared infrastructure? BOSH is a tool that handles that. And we think [open sourcing] it demonstrates our commitment to the community."

BOSH is a general purpose framework that can be used to deploy other distributed services on top of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) products, such as VMware's vSphere, Amazon Web Services and OpenStack. That flexibility also demonstrates VMware's commitment to what McJannet calls the "multi-cloud reality."

"This is how we believe the PaaS market needs to unfold," he said. "I need to be able to run my application on any infrastructure, and I need to be able to manage that system at scale. Developers want to be able to build applications in a way that doesn't require them to wire together infrastructure, and our enterprise customers are keenly interested in having a choice of where to run their applications."

The company also announced that it has simplified the open source project management of the Web portal with a new repository system., the public instance of Cloud Foundry, supports applications written in Spring Java, Rails and Sinatra for Ruby, Node.js. Scala and other JVM languages/frameworks, including Groovy and Grails. In addition, the Cloud Foundry open source project (available at ) offers languages/frameworks support via partners including PHP, Python and .NET.

The new contribution process is based on an integrated Gerrit/Jenkins/GitHub workflow. Gerrit is an open source, Web-based code review system for projects using the Git version control system. Jenkins is an open source continuous integration server. GitHub is an open source distributed version control system. "It makes it simpler for community participation," he said. "Which is the foundation of what we're doing."

VMware unveiled the initial Cloud Foundry release in April of last year, billing it as the industry's first open PaaS offering and a "new generation of application platform, architected specifically for cloud computing environments." At the time, IDC analyst Al Hilwa saw the Cloud Foundry release as an important strategic move that positioned VMware as "another emerging pole for Java developers." He continues to be impressed with both the developer and partner traction the platform has generated.

"I have no doubt that a huge part of the success is putting this code in Apache Licensed Open Source," Hilwa said today in an e-mail. "From an engineering perspective, the technology appears solid. VMware is being a disrupter with Cloud Foundry, trying to expand its infrastructure leadership and transform it into a platform and ecosystem play. The monetization strategy is still a work in progress, but these are early days and there is a platform land-grab starting with developers. The industry is waiting for large enterprises to bite in a big way, but everyone wants to be well positioned before this happens."

The company reports 75,000 downloads of Cloud Foundry during the past year.

"As a developer, this style is really compelling," McJannet said. "The developer experience doesn't involve downloading an app server, a Web server, or a messaging server, make sure that they have the right configuration, wire them together, and then starting writing my applications. That's how we've been writing apps for the past 10 to 15 years. All I have to do is write my app anyway I want to write it, push it to Cloud Foundry, connect it to a database or messaging service, and the wiring is done for me. It allows developers to focus on their applications."

The list of new Cloud Foundry partners includes Cloud9, CollabNet, ServiceMesh, SOASTA and X.commerce. "By leveraging hybrid cloud environments, including vCloud Director clouds, and providing policy-driven orchestration of the entire software development lifecycle for Cloud Foundry and vFabric applications, ServiceMesh and VMware help speed the adoption of DevOps methodologies," ServiceMesh vice president Steve Henning said in a statement.

More information about BOSH is available on GitHub. Information about Cloud Foundry can be found on the company's Web site and the new open source community site.

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].