Cloud

Why open-source cloud builder Cloud Foundry is about to get more popular

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Cloud Foundry, an open-source cloud-computing project for quickly building and running applications, could become a lot more popular in the months to come. That’s because it won’t be under the rule of a single company anymore.

Today Pivotal, Cloud Foundry‘s “steward,” announced that it will work with a bunch of other big technology companies to launch the Cloud Foundry Foundation, effectively letting more people decide the direction of the project.

EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Rackspace, SAP, and VMware are on board with Pivotal as founding platinum sponsors of the project, meaning they’ll put money toward the development of the new organization. ActiveState and CenturyLink are also founding sponsors, with a “gold” level of participation. EMC and its subsidiary VMware gave birth to Pivotal, but the lineup of participating companies is nonetheless impressive.

“The truth is, these companies really like the technology, and they see a lot of customers demanding it right now, and they wanted it, and we needed to give them a seat at the table,” James Watters, Pivotal’s head of product, marketing, and ecosystem for Cloud Foundry, told VentureBeat.

The companies have contributed code to the open-source project, too. Now they’ll have the security of knowing they’ll have more control over the future of the project, which VMware began in 2011.

When Pivotal spun out of VMware and EMC, Cloud Foundry was a core part of the Pivotal portfolio. In November Pivotal announced Pivotal One, which includes a commercially supported version of Cloud Foundry alongside tools to store and process lots of different kinds of data. Pivotal also runs a Cloud Foundry-based public cloud, Pivotal Web Services.

At its core, Cloud Foundry is code that makes servers able to accept and deploy developers’ software applications. Cloud Foundry accepts apps written in many languages and application frameworks. With Cloud Foundry, companies can implement a service sort of like the popular Heroku platform as a service in their own private data centers. Except unlike Heroku, Cloud Foundry is available under an open-source Apache license.

Baidu, Intel, and Rakuten are among the companies that use Cloud Foundry to run their businesses. NTT and Verizon use Cloud Foundry to offer cloud services to their own customers.

With more people calling the shots for Cloud Foundry under the new foundation, the technology could become appealing to more companies, Watters said. And now the companies that have contributed to Cloud Foundry could feel more prepared to launch lots of products based on the technology.

Cloud Foundry isn’t the only open-source platform-as-a-service project out there. Others include Red Hat’s OpenShift and Flynn. The new foundation could help Cloud Foundry stand out more.

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