Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is Cloud Foundry a PaaS?

I've been asking some people in the industry a real simple question, "Is Cloud Foundry a Platform as a Service"?

The obvious answer would seem to be "yes" - after all, VMware told us it's a PaaS:

That should be the end of it, right? For some reason, when I hear "as-a-Service", I expect a "service" - as in Service Oriented. I don't think that's too much to ask. For example, when Amazon released their relational data service, they offered me a published service interface:

I know there are people who hate SOAP, WS-*, WSDL, etc. - that's cool, to each their own. If you prefer, use the RESTful API: http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AmazonRDS/latest/APIReference/

Note that the service interface IS NOT the same as the interface of the underlying component (MySQL, Oracle, etc.), as those are exposed separately.

Back to my question - is Cloud Foundry a PaaS?

If so, can someone point me to the WSDL's, RESTful interfaces, etc?

Will those interfaces be submitted to DMTF, OASIS or another standards body?

Alternatively, is it merely a platform substrate that ties together multiple server-side technologies (similar to JBoss or WebSphere)?

Will cultural pushback kill private clouds?

Derick Harris asks the question, "Will cultural pushback kill private clouds?" His questioning comes from a piece provided by Lydia Leong where she notes that many enterprises have fat management structures and aren't organized like many of the leaner cloud providers.

I tend to agree with the premise that the enterprise will have difficulties in adopting private cloud but not for the reasons the authors noted. The IaaS & PaaS software is available. Vendors are now offering to manage your private cloud in an outsourced manner. More often than not, companies are educated on cloud and "get it". They have one group of people who create, extend and support the cloud(s). They have another group who use it to create business solutions. It's a simple consumer & provider relationship.

Traditionally, there are three ways things get done in Enteprise IT:
1. The CIO says "get'er done" (and writes a check)
2. A smart business/IT person uses program funds to sneak in a new technology (and shows success)
3. Geeks on the floor just go and do it.

With the number of downloads of open source stacks like OpenStack and Eucalyptus, it is apparent that model #3 is getting some traction. My gut tells me that the #2 guys are just pushing their stuff to the public cloud (will beg forgiveness - not asking for permission). On #1, many CIO's are hopeful that they can just 'extend their VMware' play - while more aggressive CIO's are looking to the next generation cloud vendors to provide something that matches the public cloud features in a more direct manner.

There are adoption issues in the enterprise. However, it's the same old reasons. Fat org-charts aren't going away and will not be the life or death of private cloud. In my opinion, we need the CIO's to make bold statements on switching to an internal/external cloud operating model. Transformation isn't easy. And telling the CIO that they need to fire a bunch of managers in order to look more like a cloud provider is silly advice and a complete non-starter.