Cloud computing giants Salesforce.com and VMware have announced a joint-venture which will enable Java developers to port their enterprise applications to a public cloud.
The joint venture, dubbed VMForce, will introduce a PaaS (platform as a service) hosted by Salesforce.com in which Java apps adapted for the cloud using the SpringSource Java application framework will run on a lightweight version (tc runtime) of the open source Apache Tomcat web server.
These apps will have available to them all of the smarts of Salesforce's Force.com platform (search, chat, analytics, feeds, deployment on mobile devices etc.) and can further be managed using VMware's vCloud tools.
The two companies claim that organisations will be able to port existing enterprise Java applications to the VMForce cloud with relative ease.
"Customers had told us there was no easy path to take enterprise apps to the cloud," said Andrew Dutton, regional vice president for VMware in the Asia Pacific and Japan.
"The market has been asking us for a pathway through. And that's what we're bringing them now."
Lindsey Armstrong, executive vice president of international field sales at Salesforce.com said that any app already written in Java could potentially move to Salesforce.com's cloud "without re-writing or starting anything from scratch.
"It leverages the existing skills in application development," she said.
"Every Java app is now potentially a cloud app. Expensive, complicated middleware is replaced by these cloud services."
VMForce will be hosted in Salesforce.com data centres, which for Australian customers means a choice of having the data hosted in the United States or in two Equinix-run data centres in Singapore.
The two companies expect to announce a developer preview, pricing and availability later in the year.
SpringSource was already in the throes of acquiring start-up Cloud Foundry, which enabled Spring developers to port applications to the cloud.
Dutton said SpringSource's application framework "removed the need to build applications against operating systems", which made applications "transportable" - i.e. ready for web deployment.