CloudFoundry attacks Google-style problem with BOSH

Stephen Herrod - CTO, VMware at Mobilize 2011
Stephen Herrod - CTO, VMware at Mobilize 2011

For a platform as a service, it’s no longer enough to support all the major languages and development frameworks, it must now also run across all the major cloud platforms.

That’s the rationale behind CloudFoundry’s new open-source BOSH management process, which should make it easier to deploy VMware’s(s vmw) PaaS across multiple clouds and on the biggest clouds.

BOSH “is a Google-style (s goog) solution for a Google-style problem,” VMware CTO Stephen Herrod told attendees of an event commemorating CloudFoundry’s first birthday Wednesday.

According to VMware’s web site, BOSH is “an open source tool chain for release engineering, deployment and lifecycle management of large scale distributed services.” As such it is for “serious devops guys who can deal with a command line interface, understand what YAML is , can read an IP address,” Mark Lucovksy, VMware VP of engineering, told attendees. Details about BOSH are posted to Github.

“We preach continuous improvement, iterative development. There are rough edges, but they’re the type of rough edges these guys demand,” he added.

BOSH as service providers’ best friend

The process should come in handy for service providers who want to host CloudFoundry, VMware co-president Tod Nielsen said in an interview late Wednesday.  “It lets people easily manage life-cycle roll-outs, updates, it’s all about the engine room operations. The developer doesn’t care,  but if you run a cloud service, your life just gets easier because you’re not going to have to write your own crazy Puppet and Chef scripts,” Nielsen said.

The CloudFoundry event seemed about  proving that VMware, which built its business on proprietary, commercial technology, is a good open source citizen now. Nielsen said the company’s purchase of SpringSource in 2009, its subsequent handling of that franchise, and the way it’s run CloudFoundry should allay any concerns. “People thought we would tightly couple CloudFoundry to vSphere as a service and what happened is you can run CloudFoundry on vSPhere but you can also run it on Amazon and other infrastructure,” he said.

Companies go multi-cloud

It makes sense to be cloud agnostic. Since some highly publicized outages, many companies hesitate to  trust their entire cloud computing load on a single cloud provider.

VMware really wants CloudFoundry to be, as Herrod put it, the “Linux of cloud,” abstracting out differences between underlying IaaS structures so developers don’t have to worry about it. Just as Linux runs on all the major server platforms, CloudFoundry and its primary competitors must run on all the major clouds.

Going back a year, most PaaS vendors raced to support all the major programming languages and development frameworks. Now it looks like supporting all the major clouds is the new table stakes.