VMware, SpringSource and CloudFoundry: Hybrid cloud in the making?

Hot on the heels of its deal with VMware, SpringSource aquires CloudFoundry to set up shop in Amazon EC2 and pave the way for VMware's hybrid cloud plans.

CloudFoundry, a little known Bay Area startup, has bridged the last gulf between VMware's recently acquired Java development platform SpringSource and cloud computing, revealing core components of VMware's cloud strategy.

CloudFoundry is a management and provisioning system for Java applications that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. Founder Chris Richardson built it on CloudTools, an open source project he also developed. Shaun Connolly, SpringSource vice president of product development, said that CloudFoundry was quietly acquired in June.

"He already had general integration with Grails," said Connolly, a key part of SpringSource's Java development platform, and SpringSource wanted the capability to offer its enterprise development platform on Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). With its automated server management and Java focus,CloudFoundry seemed like a natural fit.

"In this new age, elasticity is really what you need," Connolly said . He said that Richardson had worked as a SpringSource employee since June making SpringSource's flagship tc Servers work with CloudFoundry and adding in components from another recent acquisition, Hyperic Inc..

Hyperic's health and metric monitoring software rounds out the automation and the cloud deployment for CloudFoundry, Connolly said, making a complete, functional pathway into the cloud for SpringSource developers. He said a Java developer could work in SpringSource on his computer and, when finished, dump the relevant files into his CloudFoundry account and have a full service Web-ready application up and running with all the hyped scalability and elasticity of cloud resources.

He said it was more than an application stack for running Java Web applications, since it would work smoothly with an on-premise SpringSource installation. "It absolutely qualifies as Platform as a Service," he said.

Connolly said the acquisition of Hyperic and CloudFoundry and the subsequent deal with VMware was no accident, and that the company had been working on and planning for a cloud implementation for about a year. The Hyperic acquisition was announced by SpringSource in May 2009.

Connolly declined to say directly whether VMware would be selling CloudFoundry through its vCloud service, but said that would make sense, given the way VMware has targeted vSphere and vCloud at enterprise customers and its hosting partners.

[CloudFoundry] absolutely qualifies as Platform as a Service.

Shaun Connolly, vice president of product development, SpringSource

"vSphere is the underlying technology powering vCloud service providers, and for external cloud, they have a very large ecosystem" to choose from, he said.

Speaking for himself, Connolly said that cloud adoption would happen internally first and enterprises would want to experiment with EC2 and similar services. VMware customers would want the ability to experiment with public clouds without giving up their underlying virtualized environment.

"You want the same [virtual VMware] infrastructure, you want the same extraction [of new software releases] from the infrastructure, but you want a consistent platform," he said, and that's where CloudFoundry and SpringSource would come in, both soon to be an integral part of VMware and the vCloud.

VMware's vCenter Orchestrator and vCenter Lab Manager are also part of the puzzle that will make up VMware's cloud plans, code-named project "Redwood" and hush-hush until VMworld at the end of the month.

For the latest news and insider track at VMworld, keep an eye on our comprehensive show coverage.

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