Pulling a Rackspace

Cloud Foundry to strike out from Pivotal home

Lucy Carey

PaaS project released to be developed into new foundation, opening the door for a new wave of sign-ups.

Cloud Foundry, Pivotal’s open source PaaS offering, is being spun out into an independent foundation. The company, which was itself is an offshoot from VMware and EMC, broke the news on Monday. Rather than letting Cloud Foundry go under the wing of one independent organisation like the Apache Software Foundation, Pivotal believe that it is in the best interests of the technology to be taken on board by a smaller coalition of vendors working in collaboration with each other.

On board as platinum sponsors for this new entity will be  HP, IBM, SAP, and Rackspace, who will contribute U.S. $ 500,000 over a period of at least three years. The latter sponsor set a precedent for this tactic when it broke away from open source cloud infrastructure software project OpenStack back in 2012. Since going solo, OpenStack has mushroomed into one of the leading open source cloud offerings.

The foundation will operate to establish an open governance model for Cloud Foundry, which should come into force this summer. Bylaws will be put into place by these parties and Pivotal to accelerate the industry adoption of the Cloud Foundry open source project. As it transitions to a formal governance model, Cloud Foundry will be retaining its Apache License 2.0.

For Cloud Foundry this is an important step towards playing a major role in the emerging PaaS market, and the hefty committers behind it signal that the industry at large is taking it very seriously. Also putting their weight behind this new initiative are ActiveState and CenturyLink, (the data center and cloud services company formerly known as Savvis), who have signed on as Gold Sponsors.

It makes a lot of sense to break the Foundry away from Pivotal. With one dominant company removed from the equation, the door is opened for a host of new parties to get involved –  certainly an important aspect of OpenStack’s impressive growth. Cloud Foundry now has the chance to be the PaaS space equivalent of OpenStack, which has become a key player in Infrastructure-as-a-Service sector.

Of course, it’s not a totally open field. There’s RedHat’s OpenShift on one hand, as well as offerings from behemoths like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, all of whom are jostling for space in the IaaS field. It’ll be interesting to see how the new Cloud Foundry foundation finds a way to stand out in this market space as more concrete roadmaps emerge.

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