IBM and Pivotal To Support the Cloud Foundry Open Source PaaS Project

IBM this week said it is backing the VMware-launched Cloud Foundry initiative. IBM said it will collaborate with Pivotal, the company spun out of VMware, the sponsor of Cloud Foundry on the open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) project.

IBM's decision to join the Cloud Foundry bandwagon gives a major boost to the open source project, and the two said they will work toward establishing a governance model aimed at making Cloud Foundry independent. IBM said Cloud Foundry will provide an open cloud platform for building agile applications that are independent of application development, cloud programming and infrastructures models.

The support for multiple cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environments means Cloud Foundry can run on various IaaS clouds, including Amazon Web Services EC2, VMware's vCloud Director and those based on OpenStack. That suits IBM well because it earlier this year committed to OpenStack as the IaaS that will host all of its public, private and hybrid cloud offerings.

"Basically, we see these as very complementary sets of technologies," said Christopher Ferris, an IBM distinguished engineer and the company's CTO for cloud interoperability. "And these communities can potentially collaborate with one another." OpenStack and Cloud Foundry are complementary in that one is IaaS and the other is PaaS, he added in a blog post.

Ferris explained that IBM started working with Pivotal after EMC and VMware spun it off earlier this year, when GE said it was investing in the project. "We have been internally installing it, developing with it and have gotten to a point where we felt it was right to engage the community more openly and let people know what we're up to," Ferris said.

IBM approached Pivotal with the prospect of writing a build pack for its WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core offering as an alternative to the Java build pack that comes by default with Cloud Foundry and includes the OpenJDK bundled in Tomcat. The two organizations collaborated to extend the WebSphere Application Liberty Core, a lightweight version of IBM's pure WebSphere Application Server, as a substitute, Ferris explained.

"We did this because we'd like to be able to have the WebSphere platform be a first-class citizen in Cloud Foundry," Ferris said. "But it was the willingness and the openness of the Pivotal engineering team and leadership to collaborate with us on that. They didn't have to -- they've got their own Spring platform that really competes with WebSphere, but they recognize, too, that an open cloud really needs to be truly open to all. This is one of the reasons that we've been partnering with Pivotal and that we're joining the community and hoping to drive and scale the community itself toward a more open form of self-governance."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.