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Google and VMware’s “Open PaaS” Strategy

Wow… it has been an incredibly exciting, err, Spring for VMware’s SpringSource division.

In early April, we announced the acquisition of Rabbit Technologies, leaders of the open source RabbitMQ products used by thousands of customers for highly scalable, and reliable application messaging.

In late April, we announced VMforce, a partnership between VMware and to build an enterprise Java cloud with access to the vast data and great application services offered by the platform.

And just last week, we announced the acquisition of GemStone Systems, a leader in data grid technology. We see this as yet another critical offering within our growing application framework. You can read some exciting speculation about where it could head in the blog post from Gemstone’s chief architect.

And now I’m excited to discuss another incredibly exciting step forward towards our goal of making Spring the best framework for developing enterprise-class cloud applications. Today we announced a partnership with Google to make Spring even better and to integrate it into the new Google AppEngine public cloud offering.

First a little history… VMware and Google both sprung out of Gates Computer Science Building at Stanford University around the same time. We’ve also both grown incredibly rapidly by focusing on new ways of computing, and we’ve even used each other’s products in various ways. However, we’ve never done any deep collaboration. We both found this surprising and decided to get several leading engineers from the companies together. When we first met last year, both sides seemed a little unsure… at the time we had fairly different product focuses, customer sets, and cultures. However, in a very short amount of time we realized that we have similar visions of the cloud and similar passions for building great software to achieve this vision.

Our shared vision is to make it easy to build, run, and manage applications for the cloud, and to do so in a way that makes the applications portable across clouds. The rich applications should be able to run in an enterprise’s private cloud, on Google’s AppEngine, or on other public clouds committed to similar openness. Thus started an ambitious effort resulting in today’s demonstrations at Google I/O and the downloads available here.

For VMware, this Google partnership is a key step in our “Open PaaS” strategy that I blogged about last month. Specifically, it moves the give-developers-choice strategy forward on 3 important axes:

1. Choice of Clouds: Private or Public, VMware and non-VMware

We are committed to making Spring the best language for cloud applications, even if that cloud is not based on VMware vSphere. Google’s AppEngine cloud is not currently based on VMware’s server virtualization products, and that’s fine. Developers must be able to write applications without needing to know what underlying technology powers the cloud that they’ll be deployed on. Furthermore, there are many use cases where portability between clouds makes great business sense. For example, they might want to develop and test their application on AppEngine and then seamlessly move it to their own VMware-based private cloud for production execution. Or they might do it the other way around as well!

2. Choice of Add-on Services

The cloud is full of outstanding web services that developers want to take advantage of: ID-handling, messaging, data access, maps and location-based services, data sources, translation, tweeting, and many more. We are working to make the Spring framework let developers easily choose from and leverage these services in as portable a way as possible. One of the most exciting aspects of pairing up with Google is enabling Spring developers to leverage the rich set of services that they offer today and that they’ll aggressively add to in the future.

3. Choice of Which Devices Access your Application

It’s clear that cloud applications will be accessed by a diverse set of devices… desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads, and more to come. It’s a big challenge for developers to customize their code for the specific browsers, technologies, and screen sizes on these different devices. The announced integration of Spring with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), takes us a major step forward in helping developers write their applications once, but enabling a rich user experience on the multitude of devices that may access it. Just wait until you see the keynote demo of how well they’ve advanced this toolkit!

I hope this has been a useful backdrop for today’s exciting announcement. We’re still in the early stages of our partnership with Google and of our Open PaaS strategy. You can expect to hear a lot more about additional advances in this strategy in the coming months. And I hope you can all attend VMworld 2010 where we’ll be making several more announcements. And congratulations to the engineering teams at both Google and VMware. In a short amount of time, you’ve shown how two industry leaders can work together and demonstrated how we can aspire to make cloud portability a reality for tomorrow’s applications.


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