IBM Throws Its Weight Behind Cloud Foundry

IBM and Pivotal announced at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) that the two would collaborate on development of the popular Cloud Foundry development platform. The partnership will be make it easier for developers to deploy and manage cloud applications, and will be great for businesses looking to take advantage of the cloud.

The Cloud Foundry website describes it as an open source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that gives developers the freedom to choose the cloud services, developer frameworks, and application services that meet their needs. According to the Cloud Foundry About page, “Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications.”

IBM may not have the clout it once carried before the rise of Microsoft, but Big Blue is still a powerful name in IT, and recently it has been a driving force behind open source cloud projects. IBM has been a leading supporter of OpenStack, an open source cloud infrastructure initiative. By working with Pivotal to foster development of the Cloud Foundry platform, IBM is now expanding its support for both open source, and the cloud.

Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst focused on application development software, shared some thoughts on the Cloud Foundry news. “Given this announcement, I expect to see IBM invest in this project and help drive its governance forward to really achieve critical mass. Cloud Foundry has already garnered significant support from many players and has built up an ecosystem, but putting IBM's imprimatur and resources behind it will be felt in the industry.”

The news is a win-win for small and medium businesses. The operative part of SMB is the “business” part. A small company is still a company, and it has many of the same strategic and technical challenges to deal with as a larger enterprise. What an SMB doesn’t have is the IT budget to match a larger enterprise, so using free open source tools makes sense.

Open source tools have gained traction in recent years, and have earned respect as business tools. The “free” price tag often comes with hidden costs, though, such as lack of training or support. Partnering with a major tech giant like IBM instantly adds credibility, and gives SMBs more confidence that the software will be stable and reliable.

Part of the role of IBM in supporting Cloud Foundry will be to help establish an open governance model for the Cloud Foundry open source community. Pivotal plans to establish a community advisory board, which will include IBM, and the two will co-host a Cloud Foundry conference in Santa Clara, CA in early September.

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