Everything in the cloud seems to be getting bigger or smaller. VMware today went the small route, releasing an updated micro version of the company's popular open source platform as a service (PaaS), Cloud Foundry.
The claim to fame for Micro Cloud Foundry is that it can be deployed on a single virtual machine. In a blog post announcing the new version, VMware says it's ideal for developers who want to launch an application that's still under development to test it out, for example.
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Cloud providers seem to be constantly tweaking their offerings in an effort to expand their product portfolio and the easiest ways to do that are to take existing products and either give them added capacity, or shrink them down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. VMware took the latter approach with today's release.
In contrast, Amazon Web Services recently announced two new types of virtual machines instances for its cloud, both of which are high input/output versions of its popular Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) offering. At the time, independent analyst Paul Burns noted that adding capacity to existing products not only allows businesses like Amazon to have more products, but it allows customers to have instance types that more closely align with their computing needs.
In that aspect, VMware's micro instance of Cloud Foundry seems like a natural move. VMware launched it in 2011 and today the company updated it. As a PaaS, Cloud Foundry is used by developers as a cloud-based tool for creating and deploying applications. Traditionally these PaaS deployments live on large cloud environments made up of multiple virtual machines. But a micro instance, like the one updated by VMware today, gives another tool for a developer to more easily test and play around with Cloud Foundry on a single machine.
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VMware says Micro Cloud Foundry has all the same features and functionality of the regular Cloud Foundry, the only limitation will be the power of the single VM that it runs on. In addition to announcing the micro version today, VMware also announced new features that will come with the Micro Cloud Foundry release. These include support for standalone apps, and enhanced support for various programming languages, including Ruby, Java and Node.js.
VMware says it will continue to update Micro Cloud Foundry on the same release cycle as its parent product, and promised to continue to improve Micro Cloud Foundry by further improving automation of tasks within the PaaS.
Cloud Foundry is used by a variety of cloud computing companies as a PaaS extension to their infrastructure as a service offering. Piston Cloud Computing, the OpenStack cloud platform, for example, uses Cloud Foundry to provide customers with a PaaS.