One of the biggest concerns of the Cloud is the portability. This is more obvious in the PaaS world because of the tighter integration with the underlying platform capabilities and the API. Cloud Foundry was one of the first PaaS offerings to attempt portability through the Open PaaS approach. In a shot span of time, Cloud Foundry was embraced by ActiveState, Uhuru, Tier 3 and AppFog to deliver diverse PaaS offerings.
From the initial days of the announcement, I was curious to see how VMware would avoid fragmentation of Cloud Foundry. Fragmentation is the biggest risks of any open source platform. Sometimes it can even erode the initial vision of the creators of the original platform. Imagine a dozen PaaS vendors claiming to be based on Cloud Foundry but break the compatibility of the platform through proprietary extensions! This would defy the promise of Open PaaS and can even go beyond the control of VMware.
The other problem is that the developers will find unwanted surprises when targeting different Cloud Foundry implementations. I could have developed my application keeping Redis and PostgreSQL in mind. This would work fine on the Micro Cloud Foundry during development and testing but would break when I ultimately try to deploy on a commercial Cloud Foundry implementation, which may not support those services. Knowing the baseline features of Cloud Foundry will give the confidence to the developers that their application can be deployed across multiple implementations without any changes.
This is exactly what VMware had done with Cloud Foundry through the Cloud Foundry Core. This will ensure that every partner of VMware will adhere to a set of standard capabilities. It’s a smart move from VMware to subtly send a message to the current and future partners that they cannot meddle with the platform. Below is a depiction of Cloud Foundry Core and how partners can go beyond that. I have taken the reference of Tier 3 to illustrate this.
This is not the first time that we are seeing the attempts to create the ‘core’ feature set of a platform. Sun created Core Java before venturing into J2EE and J2ME and Microsoft submitted a subset of .NET called the Base Class Library to ECMA.
It’s a welcome move from VMware to define the lowest common denominator across all Cloud Foundry implementations. I completely agree with the views mentioned by Krishnan in his post where he analyzed both the sides of the story. It will be interesting to see how VMware will update new versions and add new languages and services to Cloud Foundry Core to keep up the promise of portability.
- Janakiram MSV, Chief Editor, CloudStory.in
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AltaFlux Corporation is a global HCM cloud consulting partner based in Troy, Michigan. We empower organizations by streamlining, transforming, and optimizing key human capital management (HCM) processes with industry-leading HCM cloud solutions like SAP SuccessFactors, Benefitfocus, WorkForce Software and Dell Boomi.