Thursday, September 01, 2011

Darwin's Cloud

RedHat conducted a survey of over 1,200 VMworld attendees on their cloud plans. Here is the question that I found most interesting:

What primary development framework are you planning to use in the cloud?
  • Java EE 32%
  • .NET 29%
  • PHP 14%
  • Python 6%
  • Spring 6%
  • Ruby/Rails 5%
If you take this at face value, the ideal PaaS for the enterprise would support Java EE, .NET and PHP. So far, this is well beyond the capabilities of the existing PaaS vendors.

In particular, there is no PaaS vendor bridging the Java/.NET divide. This raises a natural question: what is the fastest way to evolve cloud platforms?

There are two approaches to filling in these PaaS framework holes:
  • Do it yourself: Heroku just added Java support to their cloud. Because PaaS offerings from Amazon and Heroku are proprietary, they are pretty much stuck with the go it alone approach.
  • Create an ecosystem: Cloud Foundry just added PhP and Python support through partners. A huge advantage for open source clouds is that they can leverage the work of their communities to move farther and faster than closed-source competitors.
Open source clouds should be able to sustain a faster rate of revolution, provided that they can continue to build vibrant communities that contribute back to the core project.