Red Hat & Google Partner on Open Source Java Framework for Cloud Apps

Google and Red Hat's collaboration on the open source "CapeDwarf" project, which aims to create an implementation of the Google App Engine (GAE) API that allows Java developers to deploy their applications on Red Hat's JBoss Application Server (JBoss AS) unmodified, has great potential, says Gartner analyst Yefim Natis, because it is being implemented by a "cloud native" and an "enterprise native."

CapeDwarf is a "Java framework that is designed by cloud-native Google that really understands cloud, and implemented by enterprise-native Red Hat which really understands enterprise," Natis wrote. "And neither the framework nor its implementation are theoretical designs that will need years to mature. The programming model is well-tested by Google's customers and the underlying JBoss AS is battle-proven by JBoss enterprise customers."

As the project Web site states: "The ultimate goal of the CapeDwarf project is to fully implement all the APIs of the Google App Engine." CapeDwarf will use existing JBoss APIs (Infinispan, JGroups, PicketLink, HornetQ, etc.).

The CapeDwarf project has been around for a while. The project was launched in October 2011 by founder and project lead AleŇ° Justin. The Slovenia-based Justin, who is Sr. Principal Software Engineer at JBoss, told ADTmag in an e-mail that the Google/Red Hat partnership focuses mainly on the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for the GAE API. The goal is to be "compliant to real GAE as much as possible, plus running nicely on OpenShift." OpenShift is Red Hat's cloud computing PaaS.

But the future of this programming framework for cloud-based apps depends in part, at least at this point in its development, on whether "either company is big enough for the job," Natis said, adding, "Does Google really care about the enterprise? Is Red Hat ready to lead? Care and leadership would be required to turn a small niche project into an industry standard...I think there is a great opportunity here for the two companies to contribute to the industry and to their own reputation, influence, scope and future."

CapeDwarf is still under development, but it currently runs on top of JBoss on Red Hat's OpenShift or on Google's Compute Engine. The CapeDwarf project is being hosted by the JBoss Community an on GitHub. Beta versions are available now for download. The project source code is being licensed under LGPL.

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].