Feb 23 2014, 11:31pm CST | by Forbes
Open source PaaS initiative Cloud Foundry (disclosure, I’m an adviser to ActiveState, a contributor to Cloud Foundry via their acquisition last year of Appsecute) is undeniably gaining the majority of the market attention when it comes to enterprise PaaS. While smaller startups like Apprenda, and less developed open source initiatives like Red Hat's OpenShift are also competing in the marketplace, Cloud Foundry has managed to corner the market when it comes to industry buy in – large vendors such as IBM, Verizon and HP have bought into the initiative as well as smaller vendors such as ActiveState (see disclosure above) and Tier3 (recently acquired by CenturyLink).
But while Cloud Foundry was always seen as an exciting initiative, it lacked the robustness of a formal foundation to govern the project independently of any one vendor’s commercial imperatives. Indeed in a post in August last year I stated my opinion that a formal foundation was imminent.
That prediction is being borne out today with the announcement of a new governance foundation to be set up this summer. Not only is the foundation being formed, but it has garnered a huge cross-section of the most important vendors to sign up for it including EMC, IBM, HP, Pivotal, Rackspace, SAP and VMware as platinum sponsors along with ActiveState and CenturyLink as gold sponsors. I’m led to believe from sources that a number of additional vendors are due to sign on as sponsors in the next few weeks.
One name that sticks out in that list is Rackspace who, only a few months ago, announced Project Solum, a PaaS initiative that I said at the time was short sighted and meaningless. The major loser in this announcement would appear to be Red Hat who has both thrown its hat in with its own open source PaaS play, OpenShift, and was also a party to the Solum initiative.
But more than a meaningless announcement, this foundation seems to have legs. I’m led to believe that the platinum sponsors have committed to investing $1.5M each over the next three years by way of marketing – this is on top of the development work they’re all doing on the Cloud Foundry project. The project has already got good traction – both in terms of development and actual production deployments – Cloud Foundry is licensed under the Apache License 2.0, which has already enabled companies and more than 750 individual contributors to contribute to the project. It has gained prominent enterprise users such as Warner Music Group whose CTO, Jonathan Murray, is often quoted as a big proponent of what Cloud Foundry enables. The project will be retaining this license as it transitions to a formal governance model.
The interesting thing to watch will be whether the Cloud Foundry foundation manages to avoid the mistakes that OpenStack seems to have made. It appears that a tight governance group will help in this respect, not to mention less of a single dominant vendor apparent in this foundation.
This is a significant announcement for PaaS in general and for Cloud Foundry in particular. It potentially signals a consolidation that is going to become apparent, indeed on industry insider told me in an off-the-record conversation that he predicts that Red Hat will shutter OpenShift and throw its hat in with Cloud Foundry within the year. Now that will be an interesting (and uncomfortable for some) thing to watch!
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