SpringSource's roots lie in its open source application development platform, known as the Spring Framework. The Spring Framework allows Java developers to bypass encyclopedic knowledge of Enterprise Java's APIs and lets the platform substitute its knowledge of Java's complexities instead.
Over the last two years, SpringSource has started adding deployment middleware to the platform. Now that deployment can include moving the finished application to a cloudlike environment. Initially, it will be to the Amazon EC2 cloud. In the long run it will be to a cloud running inside the enterprise, said Shaun Connolly, VP of product management.
A Spring developer who is already an Amazon user could deploy a new application to the cloud by registering at SpringSource Cloud Foundry, aligning his new account there with an Amazon Web Services account and then designating how he wants to deploy the application. "He can say, 'I want this type of environment. Here's how I want the application to scale,' and the foundry will take care of the deployment," said Connolly.
The aim of the foundry product is to simplify the connections needed in an application's environment. Instead of requiring the developer to do it, the foundry connects an application server to a Web server and database server upon the command of the foundry user, Connolly said.
"It's a way to coordinate the servers, how the application servers will communicate with the Web server and the database servers," said Connolly. Initially, the foundry will deal only with applications programmed in Java and Groovy on Grails, a scripting or dynamic language that runs in the Java virtual machine.
Cloud Foundry is based on SpringSource's unannounced acquisition in June of Cloud Foundry Inc., an Oakland, Calif.,-based company. Chris Richardson, founder and president of the firm, is now head of cloud development at SpringSource. Last week, VMware announced it was buying SpringSource (including Cloud Foundry) for $362 million. "This announcement adds a new deployment model in the cloud," said Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource, in the recent foundry announcement. The launch is of a developer preview or beta version of Cloud Foundry. SpringSource is looking for feedback from developers on what they are looking for in such a product. There is no charge for its use at this time. It will eventually be charged for on a pay-as-you-go basis like other Amazon cloud services, Connolly said.
VMware announced in August that it is buying SpringSource for $362 million, plus the assumption of $58 million in unvested SpringSource stock and options. The acquisition aims to give VMware the means of broadening its virtual machine management software suite.