The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for SpringSource

Java based applications can now be moved between not only a SpringSource TC-Server Java platform on VMware vSphere, but also between the same platform on VMForce, and now Google AppEngine. This level of support from VMware, Salesforce.com, and now Google is starting to make SpringSource look like the early leading technology for PaaS Clouds. This is a significant advance in the state of PaaS clouds as there were previously no examples that offered such broad support for one platform by such a diverse set of industry leaders. However as is always the case, platform advances have outstripped security, management and performance assurance capabilities.

Virtualize Java without an Operating System

When we put a .NET application on Windows on Hyper-V (or a Java application on Linux on ESXi) we are actually virtualizing twice. Can we virtualize only once, by putting the CLR or the JVM directly on the VM Host? In this action of course we remove the operating system. Oracle is taking the lead in this area with JRockit VE JVM. There is no VMware support, the only hypervisor it supports is Xen, or more precisely Oracle VM. it only comes bundled only with an Application Server, namely Oracle WebLogic Suite Virtualization Option. The entire stack inside the virtual machine is in “User Mode” in other words the JVM and the drivers are all in the same memory address space and you don’t need to switch contexts into Kernel Mode in order to perform I/O or network access. Does VMware have a strategic initiative (or even a skunkworks) to engineer a similar bundle for its SpringSource runtimes? Or are they just concentrating on scaling out with as per the Google announcement?

VMware will offer enterprises a very inexpensive Java run time platform that is tuned to virtualization, that facilitates very rapid deployment of Java applications into a virtualized environment, and that offers applications portability between VMware TC-Server run time environments and Java PAAS clouds like VMforce. This may well prove to be an irresistible combination to enterprises that are used to paying millions of dollars to Oracle and IBM for an equivalent platform that is harder to manage.

Development tools like Eclipse and Visual Stuio are being built to ensur applications can be deployed in to the cloud on application servers. Key challenges include the manageability and scalability of application servers. Innovations include the use of non-java languages like Groovy and Jython and even PHP and Javascript on JVMs, and the final demise of SQL as object caches offer more natural scalability.

We recently received a presentation on a combined solution from Eucalyptus and Terracotta. Initially we were suspicious because they clearly share an investor – Benchmark Capital. Was this a PowerPoint integration dreamt up by two Venture Capitalists over a power breakfast? However, the combined solution was presented by some very plausible techies with a real-live demo and does look as though it starts to provide a generally-useful abstraction over which to deploy scalable applications (specifically Java stacks), and it too works with commodity hardware. It’s not as slick as the 3Tera solution, more of a command-line approach, but it potentially has the edge in scalability.

VMware Buys Zimbra from Yahoo – Moves Up the Stack into Applications

If VMware buys Zimbra it will set off a a nuclear hand grenade throwing contest between Microsoft and VMware. Microsoft is trying to commoditize the layer of software where VMware makes all of its money – the hypervisor. VMware is returning the favor by using open source initiatives like SpringSource and (possibly) Zimbra to commoditize the layers where Microsoft makes all of its money – applications and applications platforms.

In the fog of the datacenter virtualization war, it is difficult to see clearly who will end up on top, and yet the outcome is almost certainly determined, and the victorious generals are even now moving on to fight new battles. Here at the Virtualization Practice we too would like to think we can see through the fog to work out who has won, so here are our thoughts, take account of them as you wish. They concern, primarily, the big four protagonists: Microsoft/Hyper-V, Citrix /Xen, VMware/vSphere and Red Hat/KVM.

VMware’s “No OS” Application Platform Strategy

VMware’s SpringSource acquisition will result in VMware directly implementing the SpringSource Java runtimes in a VMware Guest. VMware will also work to allow other open source application frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python and PHP to run directly in VMware Guests. VMware will provide value added API’s to these run time frameworks, that will make deploying and managing applications built to these frameworks and run on VMware easier. This will put pressure on Microsoft to allow .Net to also run in this manner – potentially setting the stage for the dis-intermediation of Windows as an applications platform.

When VMware acquired SpringSource it also gained an OSGi runtime known as SpringSource dm Server, to which developers can directly build applications using the Spring and other development toolsets without the use of a J2EE application Server such as WebSphere or Tomcat (which is integrated into SpringSource dm Server for backwards compatibility. It is not entirely fanciful that the OSGi Runtime could, in due course, be made to run directly on the hypervisor, removing the requirement for a Guest O/S, leaving a complete VMware Enterprise Java stack.