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A shout out to all my fellow ‘stackers and Happy Third Birthday OpenStack!

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Exciting news on the open cloud architecture front. IBM and Pivotal have joined forces to further develop Cloud Foundry and to open up the community. Since the announcement, folks have been asking me questions like, “How does this relate to IBM’s other open cloud architecture efforts?”   I’m going to try to answer this on a few different levels: In my role at IBM, in my role on the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors, and as a career IT professional who wire wrapped my first personal computer from a Fairchild chip set, here goes:

As Director of IBM Software Interoperability and Partnerships, I’m thrilled to see this effort move forward. The PaaS layer has been much talked about and many groups are stepping up to provide their first offerings to develop this aspect of the cloud. So, for me, watching them all evolve, it’s exciting to see an open source effort move forward from its early successes into a more mature open community model. Sometimes we forget that open is not binary: yes or no. The evolution of a community takes not only time, but the dedication of contributors to producing quality code that all can use, and the support of many participants and organizations to move a project from just another open source effort to the one that changes the world.  We’ve seen this with Eclipse, Linux, OpenStack and others. Cloud Foundry is taking it’s first steps, and the path it takes will be unique shaped by those that decide to move the project along.

Cloud Foundry has the potential to meet this demand and help enterprises avoid vendor lock-in. An open Cloud Foundry platform enables clients to rapidly build, deploy and manage cloud applications in a more agile, more scalable manner, with confidence. Because Cloud Foundry can provide enterprises with a flexibile platform IBM has enabled a preview version of IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core, IBM’s innovative lightweight version of the IBM WebSphere Application Server.

I also play another role, as IBM’s representative to the OpenStack Board of Directors. In fact, as I could not help but mention first, OpenStack is celebrating its three-year anniversary this month (Happy Birthday, everyone!). In this short time, with its unique governance model, OpenStack has grown from a small group of developers to over 10,000 members. What we are experiencing is an historic moment in the IT industry, when emerging cloud efforts are poised to move to the next stage as a reflection of their growing popularity (and intrinsic value). I love seeing other projects that recognize the value of OpenStack and make use of it. Having Cloud Foundry stacked on OpenStack, in a first class way, is very important to both communities.

My goal is to foster portability across environments and to see the ecosystem take off as a result. As a board member, I want to see all the PaaS efforts find support in OpenStack and let market demand for interoperability naturally bring about the means to move workloads and packages across environments.Certainly, the emerging portability standard based on Heroku’s buildpacks and open standards such as OASIS TOSCA, for more complex workloads and orchestration, offer some potential to realize that vision. Buildpacks offer the potential of portability of programming language runtimes and frameworks across a wide range of PaaS platform offerings. As we announced last week, IBM is making available a limited preview of its IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core buildpack, which is an extension of the default Java buildpack. It was gratifying to see the collaboration in the community to enable a vibrant and inclusive ecosystem of programming language runtimes and frameworks, as this not only gives developers a broad range of options from which to choose, but it also liberates them from lock-in to an underlying platform. For someone that values interoperability and portability, as I do, the announcement was a good one.

And finally, I’ve been doing this for a while (when the only way to have your own computer was to literally build it with your own hands from parts) and I can tell you that developers today have to know more than ever before. What makes this announcement key is that we are on our way to bringing simplicity back to the developer so they can FOCUS on being creative. Unleashing that in an enterprise makes the difference between an ‘ok’ app and a kickbutt, cool-one that ups the enterprise’s productivity and thrills customers. Let’s face it, developers keep telling me that they need a way to rapidly code and stand up applications, and get results.  They have little time to understand the details of the underlying systems to make that happen, and when they do want to control the infrastructure they do not want to learn 6 different ways to access the compute engine or configure storage or the network. They are demanding flexibility and portability and don’t want to be tied to any one vendor.

IBM and Pivotal will be sponsoring a Cloud Foundry event in September in Santa Clara California – a unique, first-of-its-kind event for the community. Then, later this fall, I’ll be at the Hong Kong OpenStack Summit and I expect that amid all the excitement about OpenStack Havana and the anticipation of Icehouse, there’ll be lots of questions about CloudFoundry. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again (the community got together this spring), as I’m sure they’ll be lots of new ideas that will develop from this announcement – I look forward to working with the communities to make them real.

You can find information about Cloud Foundry at http://www.cloudfoundry.com/. As an Apache 2.0 licensed project, it’s available on Github. And I hope we’ll see you at the Cloud Foundry event in September inSanta Clara,California!

IBM Cloud

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