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SpringSource Expands Java to the Cloud

Enterprise Java vendor SpringSource is being acquired by virtualization vendor VMware, but that's not stopping new releases from coming out prior to the close of the acquisition.

SpringSource today announced a new cloud offering called SpringSource Cloud Foundry that brings together Java middleware, management and cloud delivery. The technology is based in part on SpringSource's quiet acquisition earlier this year of a small, privately held open source firm called (surprise, surprise) Cloud Foundry.

The new cloud offering also hints at SpringSource's future roadmap as a VMware company, with end-to-end physical, virtual and cloud delivery options for Java applications.

The VMware (NYSE: VMW) acquisition is expected to close in September pending regulatory approval.

"This is what I hope to be a nice exclamation point to [the VMware acquisition] -- basically we're launching an enterprise Java cloud platform-as-a-service offering that we're calling Cloud Foundry," Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management for SpringSource told "It's goal is to provide an end to end experience from developer to operations for a build, run and management of really any type of Java application into the cloud."

Connolly said SpringSource finalized the acquisition of Cloud Foundry in June. Financial details of transaction are not being made public. Cloud Foundry runs an open source project called Cloud Tools, which enables the deployment, management and testing of Java EE application running on Amazon's EC2 cloud service.

As a result of its basis on that technology, the full SpringSource Cloud Foundry solution aims to provide a self-service platform on which users can create applications running on a platform of SpringSource tc server MySQL database, and the Hyperic management technologies -- alongside Cloud Foundry cloud service technologies. tc server is the company's commercial version of the Apache tomcat server, while Hyperic is an open source system management technology vendor acquired by SpringSource earlier this year.

"This is the first public step of what we think a platform-as-a-service should be able to do from an ease-of-use and developer-appeal point of view," Connolly said.

Though many of the components that make up the SpringSource Cloud Foundry solutions are freely available in open source, Connolly noted that the solution is more than just the sum total of the constituent components.

Connolly explained that if someone wanted to set up their own Java app server platform on Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), they must handle all the various configuration settings for both the Web and app server. That's where SpringSource aims to come in, offering the ability to track the whole solution as a holistic platform and making it easier to manage as the infrastructure changes.

"This is far more than just Amazon Machine Images (AMI)," Connolly said. "When a user interacts with the Cloud Foundry user interface, they have the ability to be able to set up their environment and describe the topology of where the Web, app and database servers are, and how they should scale, as well as providing Hyperic monitoring as a dashboard."

Connolly added that the idea is to make it easier for people who just want a Java platform that works on Amazon's cloud without having to deal with the underlying complexity.

Once the VMware acquisition is finalized, the SpringSource Java cloud efforts will likely expand further.

"From a strategy standpoint, when the VMware deal closes, I'm sure we can come out with more details, but from a SpringSource standpoint, we've been working with VMware since the end of last year," Connolly said. "The hybrid internal/external cloud scenario is one where VMware is very well-positioned since they have a lot of infrastructure within the enterprise."

Additionally, while the initial launch of SpringSource Cloud Foundry is focused on supporting the Amazon public cloud, Connolly said that a future feature will be the ability to support both public and private clouds.

"It's an important design principal," Connolly said. "We want to make sure that portability is a possibility and it's not overly complicated."