VMware's bet on open source PaaS not a slam dunk

Cloud Foundry's open source nature has more to do with VMware looking different from other catch-up services

Should you care about EMC VMware's open source PaaS service called Cloud Foundry?

The company promotes it as development tools to build applications on public clouds, private clouds, and even desktops, using your choice of several development languages, such as Ruby on Rails, and Java and databases, such as MongoDB, Postgres, and MySQL. If it's missing something, it's open source, so you can add what's missing.

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That's the promise, anyhow. Although you can have your way with the source code if needed, have you ever modified an open source product? It's not so trivial a process.

The real reason VMware is bringing this product to the market is to play catch-up with the existing PaaS offerings (from Amazon.com, Engine Yard, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com) through the open source angle. For some, the use of open source is a marketing gimmick; for others, it is an outright religion. Still, it may be the only approach to provide a differentiator so that VMware won't look like a "me too" provider in the several-years-old PaaS market. 

Cloud Foundry will garner some adopters, perhaps even from smaller public IaaS services that are looking to stand up a PaaS offering as well. Rackspace has expressed an interest, and it is already drinking the open source Kool-Aid with the OpenStack IaaS offering. Moreover, many enterprises are looking to stand up a private PaaS in their data center, and Cloud Foundry may fit into that strategy.

I don't think Google, Microsoft, or Salesforce.com are quivering in their boots yet. Open source may not be as much of a differentiator in a cloud computing world as VMware is assuming.

This article, "VMware's bet on open source PaaS not a slam dunk," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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