A new partnership between Salesforce.com and VMware will create an enterprise Java cloud called VMforce. The alliance, announced Tuesday in San Francisco, will combine VMware's Spring framework with Salesforce's Force.com platform to deliver what the companies said is "the first mission-critical deployment environment for enterprise Java apps in the cloud."
"Enterprise Java developers, welcome to Cloud 2," said Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. He added that the venture will create "a dramatically simplified solution for modern application development." He said it "incorporates cloud computing, real-time collaboration, and mobile devices like the iPad to meet the new needs of the enterprise."
Access To Existing Business Services
VMforce is described by the companies as "combining the world's most popular language, Java; the word's most popular Java framework, Spring; the leading virtualization platform of VMware, vSphere; and the world's most trusted cloud platform, Force.com."
The enterprise Java development environment includes Salesforce.com's global infrastructure, a virtualization platform, orchestration and management technology, a relational cloud database, development platform and collaboration services, application run time, a development framework, tooling and other capabilities.
The companies said IT departments will be able to build enterprise apps that are social and work in real time on any mobile device while employing the economics of cloud computing.
Apps will utilize tcService runtime, an enterprise version of the open-source Apache Tomcat app server, that is designed for virtual and cloud environments. In addition, developers can access existing business services in the Force.com development platform, such as search, identity and security, workflow, reporting and analytics, a web services API, and mobile deployment.
Cloud-Based 'Land Grab'
VMforce will utilize what the companies called "some of the most stringent security industry accreditations." It will support standard Java code, including "plain old Java objects" or POJOs, Java Server Pages, Java Servlets, and other capabilities used in the Spring framework.
Applications will be able to scale up readily, utilizing app servers, databases and infrastructure as needed to handle demand. Scalability, the companies said, can be handled automatically as a service.
VMforce will be available for developer preview sometime this year, at which time pricing will be announced.
Al Hilwa, program director at industry research firm IDC, said "everyone is now positioning themselves" in the cloud-computing environment for what might be called a cloud-based "land grab."
VMware, he said, is "run by some ex-Microsoft guys who understand the value of creating platforms." He noted that the company acquired SpringSource and its Spring framework some months ago, "with the idea of becoming a Java provider for the cloud."
Hilwa noted that this kind of Java development can be done on other cloud-based platforms, such as Amazon's, but those are "roll your own" environments. Eventually, he said, Amazon and others can be expected to offer similar platforms.