VMware is expanding its Spring Framework into a cloud application development platform. VMware obtained the framework when it acquired SpringSource a year ago, and now it's capable of producing Java applications optimized to run in VMware virtual machines on a cloud cluster.
In effect, VMware is saying that not only should operations managers rely on its virtualization software to run applications but also that developers should rely on its development platform to produce applications to run in the public cloud and the enterprise, whether it has a traditional data center or private cloud. Speed of development and deployment will be greater if the development platform is integrated with the virtualization platform, said Rod Johnson, former general manager of the SpringSource unit of VMware and now senior VP of VMware's application platform division.
Yesterday at VMworld in San Francisco, VMware officials dubbed the expanded Spring Framework as the VMware vFabric, because the platform has added a number of horizontal services to be used in building a Java application. It now includes GemFire, a data-caching piece of middleware to speed up application response by pulling data into random access memory. GemFire results from VMware's GemStone acquisition last May.
A commercial version of the Apache Tomcat server, SpringSource's tc Server, was previously part of the framework, as was the application to application messaging system, RabbitMQ, supporting the AMQ protocol. VMware has added ERS, a version of the Apache Web Server, as a load balancing system, and Hyperic monitoring and performance management. Hyperic is an open source code monitoring system acquired by SpringSource prior to its own acquisition by VMware.
Spring is an open source code framework for Java developers that has caught on particularly with developers producing lightweight applications for web-based operations. It is simpler than Java Enterprise Edition and uses plain Java objects, which are easier to build, instead of Enterprise Java Beans. Johnson continues to lead Spring development, building on his experience as a developer of applications for financial institutions in London.
In an interview at VMworld, currently underway in San Francisco, Johnson said VMware Fabric consists of horizontal services that are integrated with but remain distinct from the Java development framework. They are likely to one day serve additional languages as part of the platform, such as PHP and Ruby on Rails, but Johnson couldn't say when.
Right now, VMware is busy concentrating on expanding services for the 2.5 million developers that are in the Spring community, Johnson said. That number may be rounded up, but at a VMworld event this morning, Shaun Connolly, VP of products for the application platform division, said half of all applications produced for commercial application servers, which would include IBM's WebSphere and Oracle's WebLogic, are produced on Spring. Thus VMware is seeking to expand the market for its virtualization products by linking them to a development platform used by a key developer group.
"Developers will rather quickly adopt a cloud development platform. If they don't run their applications on a cloud right now, they will want to produce applications that easily deploy to a cloud in the future," said Johnson.