A new alliance

IBM and Pivotal join forces on Cloud Foundry

Chris Mayer

The community-focused platform-as-a-service gets a big backer in Big Blue, who will contribute new tools and help set-up a new governance model

Pivotal’s newly-defined cloud platform has received a huge ally, with the news that IBM will be throwing their weight behind Cloud Foundry

As announced in a blogpost, the two companies will be joining forces to collaborate on components within the open source project, as well as thrashing out a new governance model. This will see the creation of an advisory board – on which IBM will sit – helping to steer the direction for the project, with the community’s backing.

The agreement will see Big Blue welcome the platform-as-a-service into its wider cloud architecture, with the creation of a new project that plans to make programming languages and frameworks usable on Cloud Foundry. IBM have already revealed the first phase of the Open Dojo program, where external engineers are encouraged to work directly with Pivotal’s engineers, by previewing WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core, their slender version of the server, and Liberty Buildpack, including IBM Java.

Though their warm embrace of en vogue open source projects is hardly new (see Java, Linux, Eclipse as past examples), IBM have been on the hunt to re-energise their infrastructure in recent months.

Back in March, the company went all in on OpenStack, detailing plans to base their entire cloud infrastructure on the project moving forward. In June, IBM gave their blessing to NoSQL datastore MongoDB, adding support for the query language. Putting their chips firmly on the table here suggests they’re onto another winner, giving credence to the cloud platform market as the way forward.

Angel Diaz, VP of software standards and cloud labs at IBM told Infoworld that IBM have always innovated in the open.

“You want folks to come together and drive innovations, then [you] add value on top of that with your clients.” he said, before adding that one of IBM’s main goals was to develop Cloud Foundry to run “in a more first-class way on OpenStack.

Pivotal haven’t tinkered with the formula of Cloud Foundry too much, since VMware’s offloading of the technology. The community has always been at the heart of the Apache licensed project, with a number of tie-ins to languages, add-ons and frameworks creating a thriving hub of activity. The project has been infrastructure-agnostic from the start, championing no vendor lock-in. IBM’s penchant for OpenStack shouldn’t changes things in this regard.

In fact, Pivotal don’t see IBM as the only company to back Cloud Foundry. Head of Product James Watters said in March that “adding full-time external committers has always been a goal of the team.” IBM’s pledge could cause a domino effect, with further large enterprises following their lead.

To celebrate the union, IBM and Pivotal will be co-hosting a two-day Cloud Foundry Conference in Santa Clara this September.

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