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CloudFoundry and HP: What does the future hold?


Guest Post by Mark Atwood,

Director of Open Source Engagement, Hewlett-Packard


CloudFoundry is an open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for web applications.


While an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) such as OpenStack provides basic "building blocks" such as hypervisor-contained virtual computers, VLAN-contained networks, and various abstractions of data storiage, a PaaS such as CloudFoundry provides the APIs needed by web application developers, in a way that is on-demand and scalable. 


cloudfoundry.jpgThe first time I used a PaaS I was delighted and a bit outraged.  My delight was from how easy and obviously right it was. My outrage was from remembering all the hours over all the I had spent installing and configuring Apache, MySQL, PHP, mod_perl, mod_python, and Memcached, when all I wanted to do was write some code and give the world a web app.  Having a PaaS available means that publishing a running scalable application is, from the developer's point of view, just as simple as pushing code into source control.


The first several PaaS services were closed-source, proprietary to their provider, and were too tightly welded to their own historical development and operational foundations to be packaged up and distributed themselves.  But as these things usually go, very quickly there were projects to create an open source PaaS that anyone could run on their own hardware in their own datacenters, or on their own IaaS cloud accounts.


One such project was CloudFoundry.  CloudFoundry was originally developed by an eponymous startup in 2008, which was then acquired by SpringSource just as SpringSource was aquired by VMware (which was owned by EMC) in August 2009.  Later VMware & EMC handed the developement over to Pivotal Labs (which is also owned by EMC).  That's quite the chain of ownership!


The CloudFoundry software licenced under the Apache 2.0 license, the same permissive licence that is used by the OpenStack project.  Over it's history, CloudFoundry was forked several times, with various levels of success at sharing work upstream and sidestream between the forks, and used as the basis for a number of different commerical products and PaaS service providers.  And then under the stewardship of Pivotal Labs, the CloudFoundry source code was significantly improved, and much of it was rewritten in Go.


While CloudFoundry may be an open source project, for various reasons that are now "water under the bridge", it had not developed a healthy working open source development community.  Pivotal Labs and EMC, quite understandably, want CloudFoundry to become more successful, and the key to their vision of success will be growing such a community, a community of developers and operators that can share work, instead of again forking and reforking the project and going their own way with it.


HP, along with Rackspace, IBM, SAP, and many other companies share that vision with Pivotal Labs, VMware and EMC. We're working together to form a foundation and a shared governance structure for the roadmap and ongoing development of the project.  For me personally, this has been very exciting and exhausting, especially because of the travel, and the long meetings.  Each of the participants is working from a position of good will, but putting something like this together is hard work.


HP currently plans on CloudFoundry, along with OpenStack, being a significant component of HP Helion.  


If you would like to come talk to us about CloudFoundry and it’s future, join us at the next CloudFoundry Summit in San Francisco next week, June 9-11.  I will be there.


And in the meantime, if you want to try out the lastest version of CloudFoundry from Pivotal, go to and take it for a spin.


As always, if you have any questions about open source at HP, you can leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID

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