Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

The point of platform as a service is to enable developers to focus solely on their application code and data, leaving the maintenance of the underlying stack to the service provider. One of the biggest potential problems with this approach is that of lock-in: Moving from one PaaS (platform as a service) to another, in case of pricing, reliability or other service issues, can prove disruptive.

For instance, Google is in the process of changing the way it prices its AppEngine PaaS, which is resulting in higher hosting costs for many AppEngine users. The fact that AppEngine is available only from Google leaves most of these customers without an easy exit route.

Enter Cloud Foundry, an open-source PaaS project from VMware, which was first released in April with support for running applications written in Java Spring, Ruby on Rail and Node.js, with support for MySQL, Reddis and MongoDB data stores (see NoSQL story here).

Considering the central role that one’s cloud-hosting provider plays in a PaaS product, Cloud Foundry can’t solve the PaaS lock-in problem on its own. Rather, VMware is looking to fashion a sort of Linux of the PaaS world, along the same lines as what the Rackspace-sponsored OpenStack project seeks to accomplish in the infrastructure-as-a-service space.

Since its launch, Cloud Foundry has made good progress toward this goal, picking up support for additional runtimes and data services, and attracting a solid base of partners who are at work adding value to Cloud Foundry and packaging it for deployment in various forms. Last month, VMware announced a Community Leads program, in which project partners contribute and maintain compatibility for new Cloud Foundry languages.

Activestate, which is currently beta testing a private cloud version of Cloud Foundry, called Stackato, joined the project as a community lead for Python. PaaS vendor AppFog (formerly known as PHPFog) is serving as a lead for PHP support. In addition, AppFog has announced plans to migrate its existing PHP-based PaaS to a multi-runtime service based on Cloud Foundry.

Canonical is packaging Cloud Foundry for its upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 release, combined with Canonical s own system orchestration facility, called Ensemble. Through Canonical s work, it s possible to launch a Cloud Foundry deployment that runs on Amazon EC2 and spans multiple virtual machines, with support for scaling out the hosting VMs as needed.

For its own part, VMware maintains a developer preview Cloud Foundry service at, and offers a micro edition of the PaaS for use from a downloadable virtual machine image. What’s more, the code for Cloud Foundry is available for download from a Github repository, complete with an installation script for getting the PaaS project up and running on a single Ubuntu 10.04 server instance.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: VMware Aims at PaaS With Cloud Foundry