Since VMware's introduction of Cloud Foundry last April, the first major open source platform-as-a-service has made significant inroads. Although VMware is the project's benefactor, it's been promising developers an easy way to build applications using the Sinatra and Rails frameworks for Ruby, the Grails and Spring frameworks from VMware and such web frameworks as Node.js.
To go up against major corporate efforts in PaaS such as Salesforce's Force.com and Microsoft's Windows Azure, Cloud Foundry needs all the third-party support it can get. Today, that support came in something of a thunderstorm, with no fewer than four major announcements with new partners. Perhaps the most important of these announcements comes from enStratus, the producer of cloud management and automation tools.
EnStratus' new Configuration Management tool, announced today, will enable enterprises to deploy Cloud Foundry on the cloud of their choice - essentially any major private cloud using vCloud technology, including BlueLock, Terremark, and potentially Hosting.com. This automation process would utilize recipes written using the Chef cloud automation language, and maintained by the development community.
The result is a turnkey system of sorts for deploying full suites of development tools that can be utilized by almost any client without significant downloads on the client side. In other words, the platforms and frameworks themselves don't have to be installed there.
During one of the rollout events for Cloud Foundry last April, VMware VP of Engineering Mark Lucovsky alluded to a time when developers would finally be able to do exactly what enStratus has announced.
"I spent a long time at Microsoft; I invented DLL Hell at Microsoft," Lucovsky said, "and one of the things I learned going through that era is that I hate installing software on my machine. Every time I hit Setup, I don't know what I'm going to get after that. Is the system going to work or not work? For me, I like using these services in the cloud because I don't have to corrupt my machine. All I need is an editor, and a command to push to the cloud, and I use these services out there."
As a recent post to enStratus' corporate blog explains, "Though managing multiple independent clouds from inside enStratus is cool, enStratus also enables you to create managed applications that operate across multiple clouds. For example, you can configure an application to operate entirely within your private data center up to a certain capacity threshold and have enStratus burst part, or all of it, into a public cloud beyond that capacity."
Also today, Dell announced it will begin including an installation tool it calls a "barclamp" with its Crowbar cloud deployment software for enterprise systems.
"By creating a Crowbar module, Cloud Foundry(tm) is able to leverage the cloud deployment capabilities that allow it to be set up on any physical or virtualized data center," states Dell Senior Cloud Solutions Architect Rob Hirschfeld on his personal blog this morning. "This is core to the Crowbar message: the value of cloud solution can best be realized when it's coupled with open practices for deploying it."
Cloud Foundry will also be available as a pre-installed package on distributions of Canonical's Ubuntu operating system beginning November 10. And Cloud Foundry also announced an extension of its arrangement with Opscode, which produces the Chef automation language. Newly published scripts will enable developers to deploy Cloud Foundry to a variety of multiple environments with a one-touch process.