VMware launches a developer edition for Cloud Foundry

Micro Cloud Foundry lets developers build out and test apps before moving them to an actual Cloud Foundry service

Hoping to spark developer interest in building cloud applications, VMware has issued a free version of its Cloud Foundry PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) stack that can run on a single laptop or desktop computer.

The idea behind this package, called Micro Cloud Foundry, is to give developers an easy way to build out Cloud Foundry applications and test them before moving them to an actual Cloud Foundry service, said David McJannet, VMware director of product marketing for SpringSource.

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"If I'm in an airport or a coffee shop, I can continue to build my application and maintain a symmetry with Cloud Foundry," he said.

This package will eliminate a lot of the mundane tasks of replicating a cloud stack locally, such as setting up a database, or fiddling with database connectors, he explained.

"The core plumbing is taken care of, so you have a run-time environment and not have to worry about configuring Web servers, or app servers or data tiers," he said. When the application is finished, it can be transferred over to a full-fledged Cloud Foundry instance, McJannet said.

VMware's Cloud Foundry, which debuted in April, is a service where users can deploy Java and Java Virtual Machine-based applications.

With the micro edition, developers can write code in the Eclipse based STS (SpringSource Tool Suite), and use the Cloud Foundry's command line interface to script routine procedures. Once operational, Micro Cloud Factory can be accessed over a network from other machines, which should help in collaborative development, McJannet said.

Theoretically, Micro Cloud Foundry can even run as a small-scale cloud platform itself, though it would be limited to running on a single machine, McJannet said.

The package includes all the components in the full-fledged Cloud Foundry stack, including the Spring framework for Java, Ruby on Rails, the Sinatra Ruby framework, the JavaScript Node.js library, the Grails framework, and the MongoDB, MySQL, and Redis data stores. Future versions of the package will also include VMware vFabric services.

VMware packages Micro Cloud Foundry within a virtual machine, one that can be played in VMware Fusion for Mac OS X and VMware Workstation and the free VMware Player for Linux and Windows computers. The software will be updated to mirror the current Cloud Foundry components.

McJannet would not divulge how many Cloud Foundry customers VMware has thus far, though he noted that usage is doubling every two months and the number of applications being deployed on the platform is tripling every two months.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's email address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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