SpringSource Acquires Cloud Foundry to Bring Java to Cloud

In a move aimed at providing a cloud-based platform for Java developers, SpringSource today said it has acquired Cloud Foundry and is making the subscription-based service available for beta testing.

The addition of Cloud Foundry will give SpringSource what it describes as an enterprise-grade, subscription-based cloud offering for deploying and managing Java, Spring and Grails applications.

"It brings together all of our build-run-manage technologies into a cohesive Java cloud platform for developers," said Shaun Connolly, VP of product management at SpringSource in an interview. "It creates a hosted environment for Java, Spring, and Grails applications."

SpringSource quietly acquired Cloud Foundry in June. Terms were not disclosed. Founder Chris Richardson will stay on as Spring Source's cloud development lead.

The deal is likely to be widely noticed in the Java community. SpringSource is the steward of the popular open source Spring Framework, which the company says is used in about half of all Java installations. But it is likely to gain even further notice following last week's announcement that virtualization vendor VMware has agreed to acquire SpringSource for $362 million in cash and equity.

"This represents much of the value that VMware sees in SpringSource, not only as a way to expand into the development of applications, but also the confluence of application development and application deployment, particularly in virtualized and cloud environments," said 451 Group analyst Jay Lyman in an email.

"VMware needs to extend its reach beyond virtualization and this is a clear way to way to do that," added Ovum analyst Tony Baer in an interview.

Adding Cloud Foundry to the mix was in the works prior to the VMware agreement, Connolly said. Cloud Foundry brings together recent additions to its portfolio of technologies including its Apache-based Tomcat server as well as the Hyperic open source-Web application and infrastructure management acquired in May.

The Cloud Foundry offering will comprise of both as well as the MySQL database pre-configured in a master-slave type environment, Connolly said. "It provides a very elastically scalable environment that automatically will expand based off of the workload and it will contract when the additional app servers that it spun up are not required to meet the needs of users hitting the Web site," he said.

"It will do that in such a way that a developer can develop their applications on their desktop and easily push up their applications into this Cloud Foundry service environment and have it managed and elastic."

Cloud Foundry now uses Amazon Web Services for its cloud-based infrastructure but plans are in the works to support VMware's vCloud infrastructure, Connolly said. VMware's acquisition does not signal plans to link Cloud Foundry exclusively to vCloud, Connolly said, noting he can't talk about specifics of VMWare's plans prior to the close of the deal next quarter.

"Our clear goal and the reason why we are launching this is we want to make sure we provide strong choice," Connolly said. "There are a lot of enterprise Java applications, as well as Spring and Grails applications that are being built on Amazon Web Services. People have to do a lot of things manually themselves because Amazon in and of itself is an infrastructure as a service but it's not so much a platform as a service." Plans also call for supporting private enterprise clouds as well, he said.

In many ways, what SpringSource, and ultimately VMware, are building with Cloud Foundry is analogous to Microsoft's Azure Services platform, said Ovum's Baer.

"Microsoft is pitching the same sort of message just on the .NET side," Baer said.  "There's a similarity in appeal there, in that this provides the flexibility develop in the cloud and/or on your local machine which is what Microsoft is saying with its software-plus-services, and that's pretty similar to SpringSource's message. I think there's strong potential in it for Java developers, especially when you start looking at VMware, and the pieces they are pulling together.

Lyman of 451 Group agreed. "Pricing and some details are still not determined, but it does have the potential to speed up development and deployment of enterprise Java applications," he said.

Testers can try the service free of charge at, though usage fees apply for Amazon's services.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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