HP Cloud Service Beta Embraces Open Source with VMware Cloud Foundry

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HP is currently running VMware’s Cloud Foundry atop the cloud service it introduced to its private beta tester group this fall, according to an exclusive report on Friday by Wired.

A year and a half ago, HP announced that it would offer its cloud service atop Microsoft’s Windows Azure. According to the report, VMware’s Cloud Foundry is the open source alternative to Azure and HP will make the platform part of its cloud service when it is released in the spring.

VMware launched Cloud Foundry, its open source platform for building cloud-based application development environments, in April. It is still in beta, according to the report. The services can be run on a public cloud, or a private cloud built behind a firewall and are designed to work with a wide range of programming languages.

With an industry heavyweight like HP endorsing Cloud Foundry, adoption of the platform should increase. While the move is a boost to VMWare’s project, it also illustrates the commitment that HP has made to open source projects – a commitment that will help HP differentiate itself from competitors like Amazon. While its competitors launched public clouds before now, the open source angle will be an advantage for HP.

On HP’s beta service, Cloud Foundry runs atop OpenStack, a means of building infrastructure clouds. Cloud Foundry has been around for seven months, and OpenStack was launched a little more than a year ago. The speed at which HP has moved to embrace these open source projects is impressive, as the report says, “it’s moving with a speed you have to admire in such a large company.”

According to the report, HP initially thought it would run its cloud atop cloud technology developed in-house but it decided to fold at least some of its technology into OpenStack. While it is unclear what the proprietary technology does, HP said it will contribute it back to the open source community.

HP is building a public cloud, but with OpenStack, it will create a service that has private clouds set up behind the firewall, according to the report. HP says it wants to provide hybrid clouds.

“We need to create the 21st century equivalent of Linux, which gives you a certain degree of isolation, abstraction, and portability across clouds,” VMware CEO Paul Martiz told Wired. “If you’re a developer, you need a set of services that can make your life easy, but that don’t bind you forever and a day to the stack of one vendor.”

According to the report, HP’s cloud will run in multiple HP data centers worldwide. These data centers will be constructed using HP’s modular data centers, EcoPods, which HP says are optimized for the cloud.

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