For a technology that is supposedly going to open the technology market wide and give businesses the ability to work anywhere and anytime, the cloud is a remarkably closed environment. This is in large part because major PaaS, IaaS and SaaS providers are attempting to corner their portion of the market, and are making their technology distinctly non-compatible with others in the field. As the entire spectrum of cloud technologies become more public and popular, niche companies are springing up to deal with specific aspects of the industry such as security or hypervisor management, but now some of the larger players in the game are looking for ways to open the cloud up and offer companies the chance to make the most of it. VMware in particular is looking to open-source the cloud and its infrastructure with the development of its Cloud Foundry.
Cloud Foundry is meant to address the two major problems currently facing most cloud users – lock-in and migration flexibility. Right now, companies using a proprietary system from one of the major providers are stuck with that vendor, even if they feel that the services of another provider would be better, as their architecture is not compatible. In addition, even minor moves between cloud servers can be difficult thanks to standards that are not universal or enforced. VMware hopes to give developers and companies the chance to create their own applications in an open cloud environment, and while the platform is necessarily VM-centric, it offers a theoretical improvement over how business is currently being conducted.
There is no way to predict if the Foundry will turn out to be great or gimmicky, but open-source options can only help the cloud evolve into a better environment.