VMWare’s Linux in the Cloud strategy is only half the solution for Cloud applications. Development teams also require a Cloud Native application platform.
While many Linux distributions include a basic application server, Linux by itself does not deliver a complete application platform. At a minimum, development teams commonly layer WebSphere, JBoss, Tomcat, or WSO2 Carbon Application servers on top of Linux. VMWare Cloud Foundry’s open architecture will front-end any application server through their Droplet Execution Agent (DEA) architecture (after integration work is performed!). Derek Collison has authored material describing the ability to plug-in third-party application servers. The level of integration between Cloud Foundry’s framework and the application platform will differentiate offerings.
VMWare’s recent announcement equating VMWare Cloud Foundry with Linux demonstrates an operating system focused mindset, and does not address the environment required for developing enterprise applications. As mentioned by the Cloud Foundry team, most of their work is below the waterline and does not directly address innovation relevant to application developers.
As to whether Cloud Foundry is a cloud operating system or capable of building vendor-neutral clouds, I defer to Charles Babcock’s article and your experience. Is your team building an application server agnostic Platform as a Service environment on top of Cloud Foundry? What limitations do you experience when wrapping traditional application server clusters with a PaaS framework (e.g. VMWare Cloud Foundry)?