A new VMware PaaS tool aims to ease cloud application portability, but enterprise interest hasn't reached that level yet.
Enterprises still have their hands so full with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that any serious consideration of Platform as a Service (PaaS), such as Cloud Foundry, is still 12 to 24 months away, said Shlomo Swidler, CEO at Orchestratus Inc., an IT consulting firm. The evolution of IaaS will naturally lead these shops to PaaS.
"They'll add layers and wrappers around it to make development and management easier, and add tools around it to make application monitoring easier," Swidler said. "They'll wake up to the fact that they have created a custom, in-house PaaS. Then they'll be ready to think about using off-the-shelf PaaS platforms, such as Cloud Foundry, seriously."
VMware PaaS tool targets cloud application portability
Cloud Foundry Core, the new VMware PaaS tool, provides a set of baseline configurations that allow users to validate their instances, the goal being to improve application portability between clouds. The tool also introduces a new series of versions, dubbed current, next and deprecated. It's ahead of where the enterprise market is today with PaaS, but it is the equivalent of a standardized distribution of open source software, and that consistency will be good for the market, Swidler said.
More on cloud application portability
Application portability: What enterprises need to know
Using portable applications in the cloud still difficult
Cloud portability 101: The how and why
Not everyone is that impressed by the latest VMware PaaS release, however. "You still have to do everything else, so it's not like they invented app portability or anything," said Carl Brooks, an analyst with 451 Research Inc.
In the next couple of years, the new generation of scale-out PaaS -- based on newer, more lightweight programming languages than traditional application middleware uses -- will have value for enterprises looking to create and revise applications more quickly, said John Treadway, vice president of Cloud Technology Partners LLC, a cloud services provider. Portability between testing and development environments in public clouds and in-house operational environments will also become important.
But between now and then, VMware ought to think about beefing up a commercialized version of Cloud Foundry for internal enterprise use rather than just continuing to tinker with the public PaaS, Treadway said. "They're not providing a basic, bare-bones, Red Hat-level of open source support, where they sell Cloud Foundry support subscriptions," he said. "They could do that today and ramp up very quickly. I think they would find a lot of takers in the enterprise."
Such a commercialized version of Cloud Foundry could also stand to add some better monitoring tools and/or hooks into existing monitoring mechanisms, Treadway said. "They run that today as a cloud service, and they've integrated a lot of operational support into that product, but that's all custom," he said. "They need to basically make that a more generalizable capability."