Cloud Foundry, the open-source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution from VMware, continues to gain community support and evolve toward a more diverse, enterprise-ready platform. Last night at the Silicon Valley Cloud Computing Group meet up in Palo Alto, VMware engineers and representatives from several community partners spoke of recent progress and future plans.
Building on Cloud Foundry’s extension framework for languages and services, Uhuru Software has added .Net support to Cloud Foundry, enabling .Net developers to create applications in Visual Studio and deploy them directly to a Cloud Foundry-based private or public cloud. AppFog has added PHP support, and ActiveState has added Perl and Python support. Jaspersoft has extended Cloud Foundry with BI support, including user-friendly wizards for building reports and dashboards and direct support for the document-oriented MongoDB as a data source.
Scalr, whose founder, Sebastian Stadil, organizes the cloud computing group, demonstrated tooling for deploying a Cloud Foundry cluster. The graphical, web-based tool builds up a configuration for each server and calls web services to spin up the instances.
And VMware itself continues to make major contributions to Cloud Foundry. Patrick Chanezon and Ramnivas Laddad from VMware demonstrated Micro Cloud Foundry, a Cloud Foundry cluster with all components running on one virtual machine. This capability makes it possible for developers to spin up a PaaS instance on their laptop, deploy an application, and debug. Using an Eclipse plugin, Laddad gave a demo of debugging a cloud application that mirrored the experience of debugging traditional applications.
During a closing panel, VMware and partner representatives clarified the distinction between CloudFoundry.org and CloudFoundry.com. CloudFoundry.org hosts the open-source software development project, which enables organizations to run their own private or public PaaS cloud. This codebase will grow to support multiple languages and services. CloudFoundry.com is a public instance of Cloud Foundry run by VMware. Like other hosted instances of Cloud Foundry, CloudFoundry.com supports only a subset of the languages and services provided for by the open-source Cloud Foundry code. Despite the expansion of the code base, hosting providers must limit their offerings to services that they have the operational expertise to support.
In light of the rapid growth and expanding ecosystem, Jeremy Voorhis, a senior engineer at AppFog, suggested that VMware create an independent governance body to direct the future development of Cloud Foundry and to mediate potential conflicts between contributors. A few meet-up participants supported the suggestion. While all agreed that VMware has done a fabulous job of starting the project and building an ecosystem, those who raised the suggestion were concerned that conflicts were inevitable and that it would be better to build up a governance system in preparation. Representatives from VMware responded that they did not oppose the idea but did not consider governance a priority given the platform’s early stage of development.
The meet up made one thing clear, that extensiblity (see my post from last May) has made Cloud Foundry into a dynamic platform that has caught the attention of the open-source community.