Tuesday, November 15, 2011

VMware’s vFabric; Enabling Application Development for the Cloud

vFabric aligns with VMware’s cloud strategy specifically around PaaS.  There are generally three types of cloud architectures recognized in the industry; Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and SaaS (Software as a Service).  VMware is the only vendor that has clear defined products in all three categories ready for sale. 

vFabric is targeted towards development for a new breed of applications, namely ones that demand Cloud scale.  Traditional application development makes planning for a burst in demand and a subsequent contraction not only difficult to resource but problematic when it comes to licensing the infrastructure.  Essentially VMware's targeted competitors force licensing on maximum utilization which makes it both expensive and inflexible. 

The development is all based on Java and specifically the Spring source platform which VMware believes offers significant flexibility over competitors like Oracle or IBM Websphere platforms.

The basic make up of application development has undergone an evolution; for example, even the most powerful of databases are considered bottlenecks when developing Cloud scale applications. Instead multiple individual database objects which live in memory and can be duplicated and scaled quicker running on a lightweight JeOS (Just enough OS) are used.

In VMware’s vFabric the SQL database objects (SQLFire) are an extension of GemFire. In addition vFabric includes production grade and tuned versions of Apache, Tomcat and RabbitMQ for messaging. In order to provide visibility, Hyperic is used to provide transparent performance management.

The value that VMware is promoting is enabled by licensing vFabric in a way that allows the combination of components to be quickly changed and reconfigured based on requirements. This ability, which is provided largely through infrastructure virtualization allows development to happen quicker using a new set of building blocks tuned for mobile on demand applications. This enables customers to go to market quicker than their competitors.

In addition to vFabric which can be deployed in-house on private cloud infrastructure, VMware offers CloudFoundry which is a provided as a PaaS Cloud Service. VMware sites a number of customer use cases that are largely based on applications developed for the financial industries which require real time information which have no tolerance for any delay.

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