VMware's virtual cloud stack grew one bank fluffier last week after the company beta launched its Micro Cloud Foundry open Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Free to download, the new service is intended to deliver access to an ecosystem of application services and frameworks from third parties and the open source community — and, unsurprisingly, VMware of course.
Here's the concept: A complete version of Cloud Foundry runs on a developer's Mac or PC so that cloud applications can be built locally without the "hassle" of configuring middleware. At the same time, the service preserves the choice of where to deploy and the ability to scale applications after initial builds without changing a line of code.
Micro Cloud Foundry is a complete version of the wider-scale Cloud Foundry and offers developers a choice of frameworks, application infrastructure services, and clouds in which to deploy applications. VMware insists that Micro Cloud Foundry will be able to "dramatically enhance" developers' abilities and options to build, test, and deploy their applications while offering symmetry with other instances of Cloud Foundry in enterprise data centers and public cloud service providers.
"VMware recognizes there is a new generation of developers looking for a simpler approach to building and testing their applications," said Charlotte Dunlap, Sr. Analyst with Current Analysis. "With this technology, VMware supports the growing need for developers to work on their laptops with an open, lightweight platform that minimizes configuration requirements and speeds application development."
Because Micro Cloud Foundry runs in a local virtual machine, developers can create and experiment with new application types on their own computers, a model which is fairly consistent with many traditional development processes today, but lacking from current PaaS models.
If VMware's new release proves popular among the developer community, the new service could see developers enjoying the opportunity to eliminate the need to install and configure complex application infrastructures prior to development.
"Because applications created on Micro Cloud Foundry can be deployed directly to www.cloudfoundry.com or other instances of Cloud Foundry, it enables true application portability across a range of cloud environments," said Jerry Chen, vice president of cloud and application services, VMware. "Micro Cloud Foundry gives developers a full cloud development environment that combines all the flexibility of local development with the ability to deploy and scale their applications anywhere in the future. Micro CloudFoundry gives developers the ability to build cutting-edge cloud applications while exploring the latest developer frameworks and application services without configuration hassles."
The first version of Micro Cloud Foundry supports popular, high-productivity programming frameworks and application services including:
- Spring for Java
- Ruby on Rails and Sinatra
- Grails and other JVM-based frameworks including Scala Lift
- MongoDB, MySQL, and Redis application services
- VMware plans to include support for additional VMware vFabric services in future versions of Micro Cloud Foundry
Micro Cloud Foundry supports Cloud Foundry's scriptable command-line interface and integration with the Eclipse-based SpringSource Tool Suite (STS), which allows developers to retarget deployments between on-premise and public environments without code modifications.
With built-in dynamic DNS support, developers can run their Micro Cloud Foundry wherever they happen to be working — whether at home, office, or coffee shop — without any reconfiguration required.