VMware shook the cloud world today with an announcement that it was releasing an open source PaaS platform called Cloud Foundry. The new platform takes direct aim at the current thought, if not market leaders of the PaaS world Microsoft's Azure and Google's Google Apps platforms. VMware foresees Cloud Foundry ushering in a new era of "platform clouds" that will take the thunder out of Google and Microsoft being the sole hosts of PaaS on a grand scale.
Of course VMware is a company with the scale and chops to spoil this party for Microsoft and Google as well. It could be run in private clouds or on public cloud IaaS environments. It will support a wide range of languages as the diagram below explains, but best of all it will be open source!
Initially Cloud Foundry will be available 3 ways:
CloudFoundry.com — a complete hosted PaaS environment
CloudFoundry.org — an open source project where developers and community members can collaborate and contribute to the project.
Cloud Foundry Micro Cloud — a complete instance of the Cloud Foundry project ideally suited for developer’s desktops, will be forthcoming
Cloud Foundry is actually made up of several technologies and products that VMware has acquired over the recent past and is released under an Apache 2 license. This really could be a game changer in the cloud PaaS space. For a long time now cloud pundits have said that PaaS will become the dominant form of cloud versus IaaS. The fact that VMware released this as open source is I think a brilliant move to combat the reach and girth of its two biggest competitors, Google and Microsoft.
This move could force both Google's and Microsoft's hand into releasing versions of their PaaS products that can be hosted outside of their own data centers. That would be a big change from the current models.
Very exciting times indeed for both the cloud and open source!