VMware tests vSphere resilience with Cloud Foundry

The company is employing its hosted platform-as-a-service variant of the Cloud Foundry software to stress-test its core vSphere virtualisation software

VMware is using Cloud Foundry, its hosted platform-as-a-service, to spot flaws in its vSphere virtualisation suite.

Steve Herrod

VMware's Stephen Herrod, pictured at VMworld, has revealed that the company is using Cloud Foundry to spot bugs in its vSphere software. Photo credit: Jay Greene/CNET News

By operating a self-hosted code automation, management and hosting service — a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) — at CloudFoundry.com, the company is able to seek out and fix obscure bugs in the underlying vSphere software, according to VMware's chief technology officer Stephen Herrod.

VMware has encountered quirks in vSphere that "you would never dream of hitting in normal activity. It's not until all of these lumps [of data] hit you that you can change upgrade tools and the diagnostic process", Herrod told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

"We have a whole operations team that is taking that [Cloud Foundry data] and feeding it back to the [vSphere] product group," he added. "We're actually building some of our products on top of Cloud Foundry now."

The setup means that VMware can see what it is like to be a consumer of the service, as well as an operator. This gives the company a broader perspective on vSphere and should help it make the software better, according to Herrod.

Cloud Foundry service

VMware launched the open-source Cloud Foundry service in April. The software is available in three variants: an open-source distribution; a downloadable 'microcloud' version that can be hosted offline on a single device; and a free commercial service operated by VMware at CloudFoundry.com. A fourth variant, designed for telecoms and enterprises, is expected to be released but no date has been set.

The responsibility lies "upon our infrastructure — vSphere — to be the best placed to run Cloud Foundry", said VMware's product strategy chief, Bogomil Balkansky.

VMware is not looking to use the hosted service as a way to impose itself in the PaaS sector. According to the VMware executives, the company does not want CloudFoundry.com to become a major PaaS force to equal Google App Engine, Red Hat's OpenShift or Microsoft's Azure. Instead, it is aiming for the Cloud Foundry code distribution to be adopted widely and hosted on other infrastructures.

"The goal here is not to be a cloud of our own," Herrod said. In fact, the company hopes that the open-source distribution of Cloud Foundry code will be used mostly to run separate instances of the service, hosted on top of other infrastructure operators.

"We don't expect, over the long haul, to be the primary operator of Cloud Foundry," Balkansky said. "For the time being, our strategy is to partner with service providers and stick to our core competencies."

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