Pivotal announces commercial release of Cloud Foundry

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Since information management giant EMC spun out its Pivotal unit earlier this year, the newly independent business has been happy to chat big data with anyone who will listen, but less forthcoming on the subject of Cloud Foundry, its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology.

Under the covers, though, work has been continuing on the platform, and this week, Pivotal announced that the enterprise distribution of Cloud Foundry will be commercially available from 15 November.

The goal of Cloud Foundry is to ensure that developers can build applications that aren’t tied to the specific infrastructure on which they were developed. That addresses a key challenge for developers who, while keen to build applications on rentable cloud infrastructure, have typically opted to bring developed apps in-house once they’re complete.

In order to achieve this new portability of apps built in the cloud, Pivotal has partnered with both VMware and OpenStack to ensure that apps developed on Cloud Foundry can work across private and public clouds, including Amazon’s public cloud - and there have been hints that Microsoft Azure and Google may join the club at some point.

In fact, Pivotal announced two Cloud Foundry products on 12 November. The first is Pivotal CF, the enterprise distribution of the Cloud Foundry PaaS, enabling businesses to set up their own cloud-based environment for the development and delivery of new applications

The second is Pivotal One, a suite of applications and services around big data that will run on top of Pivotal CF. The first set of Pivotal One services include Pivotal HD, the company’s enterprise distribution of Hadoop; Pivotal AX, which provide analytics and instrumentation; and RabbitMQ, an open-source messaging system; and an MySQL service.

According to company executives, the combination of Pivotal CF and Pivotal One will enable development teams “to rapidly update and scale applications across public or private clouds, and instantly expand and upgrade with no downtime.”

Cloud Foundry was first announced by VMware in April 2011 and has already been used by charity project Comic Relief in the UK to provide a scalable solution for donations. Since its launch, Pivotal - which grew up as a joint venture between VMware and EMC - has developed its own identity as an independent entity, headed by former VMware CEO, Paul Maritz.

“As we stated when we started the company, we set out to deliver a new platform for a new era,” said Maritz in an official statement to announce the availability of Pivotal CF and the first set of Pivotal One services.

These products, he continued, “will empower businesses to create applications and deliver new features to customers at a velocity and scale previously only available to Internet giants. We are bringing this speed and scale to some of the most important companies in the world, each of which can now better use data and analytics to build applications that have a profound impact on our daily lives.”

The announcement comes, conveniently enough, at a time when interest in PaaS - a previously rather neglected segment of the cloud market - is growing. Last week, market analyst firm IDC predicted that the global market for PaaS is set to leap to $14 billion in 2017, from just $3.8 billion in 2012, as companies look to cut the infrastructure costs and project times typically associated with application development.

The expected rise in PaaS spending, said IDC, is due to "indications of faster acceptance of the competitive PaaS buying proposition and new information concerning past years, particularly related to the acceptance of and market penetration of Microsoft Azure.”

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