The project overseen by EMC now has a big partner. As a result, it will be opened up with a formal board with more partners that will establish a governance framework

EMC Corp. has found one of the biggest names in computing to formally join its Cloud Foundry open platform-as-a-service project.

IBM Corp. said Wednesday that it will be a major partner on the project, being overseen by EMC’s Pivotal Initiative division, aimed at building a platform for organizations to deploy and manage cloud applications. Cloud Foundry, still in beta, will also be incorporated into IBM’s cloud architecture products.

As an open source project, Cloud Foundry depends mainly on independent developers and software companies who have been quietly working on it. IBM’s contributions include preview versions of WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core, a lightweight version of WebSphere Application Server IBM Java, both tailored for Cloud Foundry.

But Pivotal now says it will bring more partners forward by forming a community advisory board of Cloud Foundry users and vendors – including  IBM – to create an open governance model to guide the work. Pivotal will continue to “steward” the brand.

It addition, IBM [NYSE: IBM] and Pivotal will co-host a Cloud Foundry conference in September in Santa Clara, Calif.

“Cloud Foundry’s potential to transform business is vast, and steps like the one taken today help open the ecosystem up for greater client innovation,” Daniel Sabbah, general manager of IBM’s next generation platforms, said in a statement. “IBM will incorporate Cloud Foundry into its open cloud architecture, and put its full support behind Cloud Foundry as an open and collaborative platform for cloud application development, as it has done historically for key technologies such as Linux and OpenStack.”
 
Aldo Gallone, director of cloud computing at IBM Canada, said in an interview the company’s interest in Cloud Foundry is a continuation of its backing of open source and open standards, reflected in IBM’s backing of the OpenStack infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) platform.
 
“We’re just fulfilling our commitment to be the leaders in open cloud computing,” Gallone said. “This is the logical nexct step — to join Cloud Foundry.”
Gallone couldn’t say exactly how IBM will leverage Cloud Foundry in products, but noted that when the company decided to back OpenStack IBM licenced the code and is coming out with a number of OpenStack-compliant products like SmartCloud Orchestrator and SmartCloud Provisioning. Similar things will happen with Cloud Foundry and IBM middleware to help application developers, he said.
 
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There are a number of open source PaaS platforms, including Red Hat’s OpenShift Enterprise, OpenRuko, Tsuru and Nodester. But Cloud Foundry, with its backing from EMC and its VMware division, was considered a leader.
Cloud Foundry will run on OpenStack, VMware vSphere and Amazon AWS. At the moment it is hosted by Pivotal and its partners, but an on-premise version is coming. The commercial version will be released in the fourth quarter.
 
Among those who have been working on it are Japan carrier NTT, which has contributed an emulator, and Intel Corp., which used Cloud Foundry to set up a private cloud for faster application development.
 
Cloud Foundry supports apps written in JVM languages including Java, Scala and Groovy. It also supports Ruby and node js through curated buildpacks. Supported frameworks include Spring and Play for Java, Lift for Scala, Grails for Groovy and Rails and Sinatra for Ruby.

The Cloud Foundry Hosted Developer Edition is a paid service, although there is an open source version that can be freely downloaded.

The Pivotal Initiative, formed last December, pulls a number of EMC’s big data and cloud application projects under one roof.

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