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Ubuntu erects stairway to VMware code cloud

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Ubuntu 11.10 will ship with both the client and server components of Cloud Foundry, the "platform cloud" VMware open sourced this spring.

On Wednesday, VMware and Ubuntu guardian Canonical announced that the next incarnation of the Linux distro – due for official release in October – will include Cloud Foundry packages built by real live Canonical engineers.

Canonical claims 12 million active Ubuntu desktop users, and VMware boasts that with the Cloud Foundry client on the imminent Oneiric Ocelot, these millions will be only a few commands away from deploying an application on its existing Cloud Foundry service (still in beta). And with the Cloud Foundry server deployment tools bundled as well, Ubuntu users will have the ready option of building their own cloud based on the platform.

Ubuntu is already the core OS behind VMware's service.

Akin to Microsoft Azure or Google's App Engine, Cloud Foundry is an online service for building, deploying, and readily scaling applications. But unlike Microsoft or Google, VMware has released the code behind the service, hoping to spawn an army of compatible services.

Still tagged as a beta, the platform lets you build applications with Java, Scala, Ruby on Rails, the Ruby framework Sinatra, and Node.js, the darling of today's Silicon Valley development world.

VMware's Cloud Foundry service – which resides in data centers formerly owned by Mozy – is offered alongside various sister services, providing online access to the MySQL, MongoDB, and Redis databases as well as the RabbitMQ open source messaging system. VMware's SpringSource arm acquired Rabbit Technologies – the outfit that founded RabbitMQ – in April of last year.

On Wednesday, VMware also announced Cloud Foundry partnerships with Dell, enStratus, and OpsCode, each meant to facilitate the deployment of the Cloud Foundry platform on local servers.

Dell will release a version of its Crowbar software for installing and configuring Cloud Foundry onto bare-metal servers. enStratus has updated its cloud management tool to grease the deployment of VMware's platform atop the eighteen "infrastructure clouds" it handles. And OpsCode will publish the OpsCode Chef "recipes" – sysadmin scripts – that VMware built for deploying Cloud Foundry. These will also be rolled into the OpsCode service that lets you use the open source Chef platform over the web.

Core Ubuntu developer Dustin Kirkland offers instructions for using the Cloud Foundry VMC client package (ruby-vmc) and command line interface (vmc) bundled with Oneiric Ocelot, and he provides a separate tutorial for the VCAP server.

Canonical has long offered software for building infrastructure clouds, services that provide readily scalable access to raw computing resources such as processing power and storage – first, it embraced the Eucalyptus platform, then it dropped Eucalyptus for OpenStack – but this is Ubuntu's first move into platform clouds, which operate at a higher level, hiding raw resources.

Cloud Foundry is the logical choice. VMware has reinvented itself as an open source company. Well, up to a point. It will be a very cold day indeed when VMware open sources its hypervisor. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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