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VMware's Cloud Foundry opens PaaS

Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service | April 12, 2011
VMware unveiled an open platform-as-a-service offering Tuesday that supports multiple programming frameworks including Spring for Java, Ruby on Rails and Sinatra for Ruby.

While Spring developers might gravitate toward Cloud Foundry, since VMware now owns Spring creator SpringSource, VMware may face challenges trying to build a relationship with other developers. "When it comes to Ruby, JavaScript and other future platforms, there's a lot of street cred VMware has to earn," said Michael Cote, analyst with RedMonk.

Its success earning such credibility will come down to community and developer marketing, he said. For example, Amazon Web Services, which is relatively open, and Google have good relationships with developers, he said. But Microsoft has had to work very hard to convince developers that it's not "some kind of 'evil empire' when it comes to locking in developers to Azure," Cote said.

Because VMware hasn't outlined pricing details yet, Cote sounded a bit skeptical about whether Cloud Foundry will be truly open. PaaS providers typically lock users into some component so the vendor can earn revenue from each installation. It appears that VMware is trying to build a very large environment with hopes of earning revenue only from specific types of uses.

"I hope that's what they're doing at least: The bad thing would be for their business folks to worry about monetizing every single Cloud Foundry instance," he said.


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