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IBM Backs Cloud Foundry

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IBM announced its support for Pivotal's Cloud Foundry last month through a partnership in the continued development of the popular, open source Platform-as-a-Service. The announcement comes as one in a string of backings from IBM for cloud-related open source projects.

By leveraging Cloud Foundry as the PaaS layer in its "Open Cloud Architecture", IBM adds to the project's repertoire of open source projects that comprise the tech giant's cloud solution. OpenStack, a popular open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service, serves the core of IBM's cloud platform, and the company touts itself as a "highly active" member of the OpenStack community.

IBM intends that its support for cloud-related open source projects will help to develop standards for the software used in building the many layers that go into cloud computing platforms. The company is a founding sponsor of the Cloud Standards Customer Council, which was built with the intention to "separate the hype from reality" for cloud computing platforms. In addition to developing standards for cloud computing, the council intends to formulate best practices, patterns, and case studies from the members' accrued experiences.

Cloud Foundry was originally housed under VMware's cloud computing department, but was moved under the purview of Pivotal earlier this year. Pivotal, a collaborative spin off of VMware and parent company EMC, is responsible for building the Cloud Foundry brand and platform, as well as supporting a variety of open source projects, including the Spring and Grails Frameworks.

In conjunction with IBM's announcement to support Cloud Foundry, Pivotal announced that it will form a community advisory board of users and vendors to help steer the direction of the platform. IBM has been the first partner named to the board.

IBM's support for Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, and related open source projects, lends credibility to the improved maturity of cloud technologies, and sets the precedence for enterprises to begin adopting the cloud as a viable platform. To that end, IBM has revamped its enterprise-favored WebSphere application container, and made a lightweight incarnation available to run within a cloud infrastructure. The so-named, WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core, will allow enterprise applications to run within Cloud Foundry using the newly created Libery Buildpack, which is designed specifically for Cloud Foundry.

Historically, IBM has taken a "wait-and-see" position on new technologies, indeed waiting a full nine years before formally adopting Linux as an enterprise platform. The company's thorough vetting process appeals to enterprises and industries that are under regulation, as it provides a standardization scheme for the technologies and practices that they adopt in their environment. IBM's drive to standardize the cloud platform is driven by the company's data governance policy, which dictates that the company leverage "best practices and proven technologies" for client solutions.

In the days preceding Pivotal's SpringOne2GX conference, IBM and Pivotal will host a two-day conference, entitled "Platform", which will focus on the capabilities of the Cloud Foundry platform stack. The conference will take place on September 8th and 9th in Santa Clara, California.

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