Skytap opts for Cloud Foundry and hybrid model

Skytap gets intimate with Cloud Foundry, expands hybrid cloud capabilities

Cloud automation specialists Skytap have made two big announcements, both of which suggest a tighter partnership with virtualisation kings VMware and following the trend towards hybrid cloud models.

The big unveil for the Seattle-based provider is undoubtedly tight integration to VMware’s burgeoning Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Cloud Foundry. The news means that Skytap customers can get multiple pre-configured Cloud Foundry environments running in Skytap Cloud within 60 seconds.

This is great news for enterprises using Skytap’s testing and development cloud, now able to rapidly hook up to the bounty of options within Cloud Foundry. Developers, meanwhile, can delve deeper into this freely-available template and spin it into a fully-fleshed Cloud Foundry development stack, alongside a client development workstation running the Eclipse IDE and Cloud Foundry plugin.

Also revealed today are new hybrid cloud capabilities with Skytap, making it simple and efficient for enterprises to use a secure hybrid cloud environment alongside on-premise VMware technology.

Although still in beta, it’s been clear for a while that the Cloud Foundry team are adamant on making their open source platform as inclusive as possible. It can manage not only Java applications, but Ruby, PHP, Scala, Python and Node.js based ones too. It also holds close ties to key technologies that form part of VMware’s vFabric (effectively a commercial version of the Spring Framework) such as RabbitMQ and GemFire. Partnership with specialist vendors, like BI-focused Jaspersoft, has also added extra functionalities to the platform, in the form of plug-ins.

Speculation is mounting that VMware could well bring Cloud Foundry out of beta at the upcoming VMworld 2012 in San Francisco, an ideal stage to make such an announcement. With other competitors, Red Hat with OpenShift for example, having already gained a head-start on them, it makes sense to go GA sooner rather than later. Jumping first isn’t necessarily key as it has given more time to Cloud Foundry to make sure the platform is as stable and innovative as it can be.

Whilst it might seem like Skytap and VMware’s core cloud infrastructure strategies put them in direct opposition (and set them up as challengers to Amazon Web Services’s crown), forging links to more developer communities is key to gain leverage and also to obtain a fully-fleshed product. By broadening the scope of what Skytap customers can do, such as using the Eclipse IDE in the suite, then more and more developers should come knocking.

Chris Mayer

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