Automated development here we come

VMware boosts cloud app platform vFabric Suite 5.1

Following weeks of letting the competitors take the cloud spotlight, VMware have revealed the latest version of the cloud application platform vFabric Suite 5.1, aiming to give companies more bite in their toolkit for developing cloud apps.

Amongst the new capabilities available in the arsenal of VFabric 5.1 Suite include automated deployment of complex applications, several new instances of enterprise open source support, PostgreSQL capabilities and the introduction of an in-memory distributed SQL database, in SQLFire.

vFabric has long been the premier choice for Spring developers looking to build, run and manage Java and Spring applications, both on-premise or into the cloud wilderness. Its key advantage is its simplicity in the lightweight framework, bringing a set of standard open source tools together under one roof. These include the likes of SpringSource's Apache Tomcat in vFabric tc Server, Java-based in-memory datagrid vFabric GemFire and open source messaging platform vFabric RabbitMQ as well as the standard SpringSource offering of the Spring Framework and so on. If you're not keen on being tied down to VMware's products, vFabric 5.1 ushers in options like Apache Tomcat and HTTP server to appease all.

Further to this, there's a ramped-up version of SQLFire within vFabric 5.1, aiming to radically reduce larger workloads and embrace maximum scalability.

Two components hold more weight in vFabric 5.1 than others. The first is vFabric Application Director (initally appearing at VMware in August 2011) which automates the deployment of applications via the use of blueprints, component libaries and workflows. The second is vFabric Postgres, VMware's own open source brewed version of PostgreSQL, reducing the cost of databases through making them more elastic.

Jerry Chen, vice president of Cloud and Application Services at VMware spoke of the release:

The cloud era is driving a transformation in applications. Today, most are built with open source development frameworks, deployed on lightweight application containers, run on virtual infrastructure and are data intensive

This is driving a real transition in the type of technologies our customers are using to build, run and manage these new applications. Since introducing the vFabric Suite a year ago we have seen remarkable adoption amongst our customers, helping our Cloud Application Platform business to nearly double in year over year growth in 2011.

RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady offered his view:

From the increasing number of programming languages used to the heterogeneous nature of today's hybrid infrastructures, application development is changing quickly...

Faced with such diversity, enterprises are increasingly turning to lightweight application containers to ease the pains of deployment.

He makes an excellent point - with the cloud landscape becoming ever more open-natured, more languages come to the floor and the benefits of being an open house to them all seem obvious. In turn, lightweight containers might be the way forward to deal with so many spokes to a cloud application platform.

vFabric Suite 5.1 lies on its own in this respect, introducing a pricing system based on VMs, rather than physical hardware, and you only need to pay for the average number of licenses in use. Cutting out the waste could be a dealbreaker, plus the fact you wouldn't need to splash out on excess hardware in strenuous times.

We really like what VMware have done here - letting down the drawbridge to key open source tools whilst maintaining a very strong core offering. It's an essential update for enterprises wanting perfect Spring Java apps in the cloud.

Chris Mayer

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