By: Gigaom
What next for Cloud Foundry?
VMware aggressively recruited partners to base platforms on its open-source Cloud Foundry stack. Now as it preps the Pivotal Initiative spinoff, those partners worry about more intense competition with the Cloud Foundry mothership.

cloudfoundrylogo We all know now that VMware is spinning off its Cloud Foundry Platform as a Service (PaaS) effort to The Pivotal Initiative, along with some other VMware and EMC technologies.

What we still don’t know is what the emergence of this new entity means for the Cloud Foundry ecosystem — the third parties that built their own platforms atop the Cloud Foundry platform. Officially, no one’s saying anything beyond VMware’s opaque blog post announcing the move. Basically, VMware told us all to check back in Q1 2013 for details.

Unofficially the word to these partners, who worry about having to compete more with the Pivotal mothership’s Cloud Foundry commercial release, is:  ”remain calm.”

Macro PaaS picture still bleak

While enterprise uptake of PaaSes in general remains spotty at best — the Cloud Foundry ecosystem has gotten traction of late at least with big IT partners. Two weeks ago, Hewlett-Packard dubbed ActiveState’s Stackato as its PaaS platform while Rackspace is marketing Appfog to its customers.  And, this week, Denver-based Cloud Elements launched a formal systems integration practice around Cloud Foundry.

“With this spinoff I expect to see increased focus and resources for Cloud Foundry,” said Cloud Elements CEO Mark Geene. “If they put Paul Maritz on to head this up, they’re serious about this business.” (Maritz, the former VMware CEO and current EMC chief strategist will, in fact, be CEO of this new effort.)

Conventional wisdom — even among PaaS companies —  is that the market will consolidate and converge around a few key players. Most folks expect Cloud Foundry and Heroku which bought two years ago, will remain along with Microsoft Windows Azure in the Windows and .Net realm, but many smaller more niche players will get acquired or fade away.

The big question underlying all of this is whether this flurry of vendor action will lead to actual adoption by business customers. You can bet one thing — winning real customers was the primary motivation behind the Pivotal Initiative from the get go.

Photo courtesy by Flickr user fontplaydotcom

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