The early popularity of scripting and online applications caused many of the first PaaS clouds, such as Heroku, Engine Yard, and Microsoft offerings, to be built for Ruby, .Net, and PHP developers. Slowly but surely however, Java is approaching its time in the cloud. Major players, such as Google's App Engine, have started to fill the growing need for Java cloud platforms. SpringSource is currently working on its own cloud platform called Cloud Foundry. Today, another big name in cloud computing is throwing its hat into the Java arena - SalesForce.com. They're not alone either. Java experts at SpringSource along with the virtualization gurus at VMware have helped SalesForce build a new service on top of their Force.com platform. The lovechild of VMware and SalesForce is fittingly named "VMforce
During SalesForce.com's previous successful years, enterprise Java developers were relatively uninterested in developing extensively on the platform. SalesForce was originally focused on providing tools for non-developers to make their own applications (commonly CRM apps). However, SalesForce provided its own Java and C# based language called Apex, which focused on application logic, program controllers, database triggers, and platform plumbing; but this wasn't enough to attract the majority of Java developers.
VMforce is a step in a completely new direction. The platform facilitates Java app deployment into the cloud while removing the need to buy or provision software or servers. The service (built on vSphere and a customized vCloud App Core layer) sits on top of Force.com's physical infrastructure. Running on VMware's technology is SpringSource's tc Server and the Spring Framework. Spring apps can store data in Force.com's database or use the data that's already there.
SpringSource is currently integrating STS with VMforce so that interacting with the server and a VMforce account will be no different from dealing with a local tc Server or Tomcat instance. This integration will also enable drag-and-drop deployment and incremental redeployment for speedy, round-trip development on a remote platform. You'll be able to run POJOs, JSPs, and servlets on the Spring Framework, and the Force.com database will supply a vast array of pre-packaged code for reporting, data management, metrics, and more.
SalesForce.com now steps into the Java arena to compete with IBM and Oracle, however, it seems that those two companies haven't announced any clear cloud platform service strategy for Java applications. VMware is not only pursuing the SalesForce cloud avenue. Their SpringSource division is also currently working on Cloud Foundry, which is a self-service, pay-as-you-go, public cloud deployment platform. Currently in beta, the platform unifies the build, run, and manage application lifecycle for Java. Cloud Foundry will facilitate Spring, Grails, and Java web application development. According to the SpringSource blog
, we'll be hearing a lot more about Spring's cloud projects in the next few months. They could be referring to both VMforce and Cloud Foundry.
No pricing for the VMforce service has been announced. A developer preview will be available in the second half of 2010.