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VMware's Cloud Application Platform Vision

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Rod Johnson published last week a quick introduction to VMware Cloud Application Platform, VMware vFabric, as part of the latest iteration of their Cloud Computing Vision:

This platform delivers on the promise of VMware’s acquisition of SpringSource, pulling together our assets into a single, next-generation infrastructure. While the respective components will remain available separately, we believe this integrated offering will provide a simpler, more efficient, option. [It] combines the Spring development framework and tools with VMware vFabric platform services that enable fast delivery of next-generation applications that are instantly scalable and cloud-portable.

vFabric is a unified platform that offers instant scalability and is cloud-portable. It builds on Spring assets:

[The] Spring Framework including security, batch, integration, tc Server and HypericSpringSource Tool SuiteGrails and Spring Roo;  Rabbit Technologies and GemStone Systems

From Rod's point of view, IT needs a platform that is free of the complexity, bloat and limitations of prior-generation architectures:

The rise of virtualization and cloud computing combined with the popularity of consumer and software-as-a-service applications [...] are driving significant shifts in application architectures – across infrastructure, applications, data access, and how end users interact with applications. Modern applications need to be easy to use, data rich, and provide access anywhere, anytime. Developers need the frameworks, tools and platform services that enable them to build great applications and immediately deploy those applications onto an intelligent platform that provisions itself on demand and scales the application based on policy. 

He explains:

The shift toward cloud computing tends to mix developer and operational concerns [...] The path to cloud begins with developer tools and features that make it easy to create [Cloud-based] applications.

VMware vFabric [is based on] tc Server and Hyperic [... and supports] new approaches to data management that enable applications to scale across elastic, geographically distributed cloud architectures with our GemFire and RabbitMQ technologies. 

 One of Rod's reader, "Fetch", asked:

What does this mean for CloudFoundry? The two offerings seem to be reasonably similar in that they both involve "simple deployment to the cloud" for developers using SpringSource toolsets, however the deployment is to different hosts/infrastructure.

 Rod responded:

vFabric is targeted at enterprises that want to modernize their own datacenter or IT infrastructure and gain private cloud capabilities. Services like CloudFoundry and our partnerships with Salesforce (with VMforce) and Google (with Google App Engine) are for customers that want to leverage someone else’s datacenter, i.e. public cloud. Of course, building your applications with Spring will help you with portability and give you choice about whether to deploy your application in the public cloud or your own private cloud.

Today all but the major actors of the Cloud are moving towards PaaS. Is it the right direction for Cloud Computing? Is IaaS "dead"? What are the ideal characteristics of a PaaS? Have you experimented with PaaS? What benefits and drawbacks do you see for your IT organization? Are we going to need multiple PaaS? or does one PaaS fits all?

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