Cloud Foundry alternatives

Cloud Foundry
Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service, providing a choice of clouds, developer frameworks and application services. Initiated by VMware, with broad industry support, Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications. It is an open source project and is available through a variety of private cloud distributions and public cloud instances, including CloudFoundry.com.
Here are the latest news about Cloud Foundry:

2012 Surprise! VMWare has joined OpenStack


Recently we found out that the open cloud platform alliance OpenStack includes several members from EMC. It was a surprise, because EMC owns VMWare - the direct competitor of OpenStack. We thought that it was a little misunderstanding in the Swedish family EMC-VMWare. But this wasn't the last surprise in this story. In the end of the last week, VMWare personally became the "Gold member" in OpenStack. (Recall, OpenStack was founded two years ago in order to struggle against the dominance of Amazons's public cloud and VMWare's data-center cloud management systems). Together with VMWare two more giants: Intel and NEC joined OpenStack on Friday. So now, on the cloud platform market we have the confrontation: Amazon vs "Everyone else". You may think that the forces are not equal, but ...

It's likely that VMWare's entry hardly strengthen OpenStack. First, VMWare is not going to stop developing its (competing) solutions vCloud cloud platform and Cloud Foundry. The company is considering it's contribution to OpenStack as an diversification of investments in cloud platforms. Second, it's probably just a political (or marketing) step by VMWare. Because its main virtualization-competitor Citrix has recently quit OpenStack. So it's an excellent opportunity to turn the whole cloud market against the rival.

In result, OpenStack may not just become the Soviet Union but the Soviet Union with political games. At first glance, such organization can't be effective.



2012 So Amazon is #1. And who’s next in cloud computing?


GigaOm has published the list of top 7 cloud providers besides Amazon. Why besides Amazon? Because Amazon Web Services for now is far ahead of competitors. AWS is an absolute cloud market leader in all reports of all analytical firms. According to various estimates, AWS runs on 450,000 servers and generates about $1 billion in revenue per year. And who's next? Here are the top 7 the cloud providers by GigaOM:

1. Rackspace
According to Gartner, Rackspace on the second place after the AWS by revenue. In 2011 it's revenue was slightly below $200 million. Rackspace - is the leader of the OpenStack, the alliance that develops the open cloud platform (ala Cloud Linux).

2. Google
By the number of servers, Google can surpass even Amazon. But Google can't extract revenue from its cloud infrastructure so effectively (search and advertising are not mentioned here). It's platform Google App Engine is not yet a serious option for business and SaaS providers.

3. Microsoft
Microsoft, perhaps, could be a leader in the cloud market thanks to its extensive partner network and customer base. But it's bound by the own desktop business. So while Windows Azure has a huge potential, it's still a niche platform.

4. IBM
IBM comes to the market from the big business side. It turns out, that IBM already provides its cloud platform SmartCloud to the large number of its big customers. However, apparently the company has no clear cloud strategy yet, because a week ago IBM decided to join the OpenStack alliance.

5. Hewlett-Packard
HP in general, builds private clouds (including those based on Windows Azure). But at the same time - it's building the own public cloud platform based on OpenStack. As a leading server manufacture, HP has a huge potential, but because of constant CEO change, it can't grow rapidly.

6. VMWare
VMWare - is the mother of virtualization (which is the core technology for all cloud platforms) and the daughter of EMC (the leading supplier of storage systems for cloud platforms). So VMWare has everything for cloud success. And VMWare prefers not to join alliances, but goes its own way - pushing the Cloud Foundry platform.

7. Facebook
Facebook was included in the list in advance. They say, Amazon also used to just sell books. And though Facebook doesn't provide its cloud to third party companies, but the size of this cloud - is WOW!



2011 SaaS vendors using third-party PaaS as their own

SuccessFactors Cloud Foundry
An interesting new trend is emerging: SaaS vendors start to use third-party PaaS services as platforms for their own clients and partners. Let's first consider the ordinary situation. For example, there was such SaaS provider as Salesforce. And it provided the online CRM system. The system was growing but the customers wanted more and more new features. Then Salesforce management thought: "we can't implement so many features, and it's not right to make the system too complicated. Let's better create a (PaaS) platform, and let our customers and partners create add-on apps and functions themselves. That's how Force.com appeared. And many others SaaS vendors headed the same way: Google, NetSuite, Intuit, Box.net ... But not all SaaS-providers are so mighty to create own PaaS platform. Or maybe creating own PaaS-platform - is not the smartest option. Why not use one of the existing PaaS-services, such as Force.com?

That's what Workday, Infor and Concur decided to do last summer. They created SDK and interfaces for Force.com and offered their customers and partners to build applications on Force.com and use the data inside their systems. And a few days ago another SaaS-giant SuccessFactors (which is the champion in SaaS-implementation size) has partnered with VMWare to use its PaaS-Platform CloudFoundry.



2011 VMware wants to revolutionize PaaS market

VMware Cloud Foundry
We have already noted that PaaS (Platform as a Service) - is the future of cloud platforms. For now the PaaS market is dominated by Salesforce (Force.com), Microsoft (Windows Azure) and Google (Google App Engine). Recently Amazon also entered this space with AWS Elastic Beanstalk. Of course VMWare also has its own plans regarding this market. Like Amazon, VMWare still paid more attention to another cloud technology - IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Its product vCloud enables service providers and enterprises to create cloud platforms that mimic Amazon EC2. But, frankly speaking, VMWare hasn't achieved great success in the IaaS-space so far, because it didn't offer something revolutionary. Having analyzed these mistakes, the company is now entering the PaaS market. And here it really wants to make a revolution.

Few days ago VMWare unveiled online service Cloud Foundry and the eponymous "portable" PaaS platform. The mane feature of this platform is that it's completely free and open-source. According to the developers, it can work anywhere - on a single server, in the enterprise data center, in a public cloud (e.g. Amazon or vCloud), as well as on several of these infrastructures, forming so-called "federated cloud." Thus, it's eliminating the main drawback of existing PaaS-solutions - locking to a single provider.

The second feature of Cloud Foundry - is its extensibility. For example, Google App Engine only supports Python and Java. Windows Azure - primarily designed for use with Microsoft's .NET framework. But VMWare Cloud Foundry initially supports Spring Java, Rails, Sinatra and Node.JS and allows you to integrate other frameworks. So the platform does not limit developers in their tools and infrastructure software. Moreover, for the convenience of developers, VMWare will soon release a micro version of Cloud Foundry, that can be installed on any PC.

It is also interesting that the Cloud Foundry will compete with a joint project of VMWare and Salesforce - VWForce (which is now a part of the Force.com). Probably now these two companies diverge and each will go its own way to the top of the PaaS-market.