VMware, Salesforce.com building Java cloud platform

The joint product is called VMforce and will be available later this year

VMware and Salesforce.com are jointly developing a cloud computing service called VMforce designed for hosting Java applications, executives from the two companies said Tuesday.

Set to be rolled out during the second half of this year in a developer preview, VMforce will make it easier for companies to deploy and manage Java applications in the cloud, said Andrew Dutton, general manager of Asia-Pacific and Japan for VMware, during a conference call with reporters.

Based on the Spring development framework, which VMware acquired last year when it bought SpringSource, VMforce combines Salesforce.com's cloud-computing infrastructure with VMware's vSphere virtualization software. This combination will simplify the process of bringing Java applications into the cloud -- something that Java developers have been clamoring for, Dutton said.

"Before, they were stuck. There was no clear way through into development for the public cloud," Dutton said, noting that VMforce will run any Java applications built using Spring.

Cloud computing is a catch-all term that describes a range of Internet-based services, from hosted applications offered as a service to companies that provide the infrastructure for hosting corporate applications. VMforce falls in between, offering a ready-made Java platform that's built around Spring and the SpringSource tc Server runtime, with access to Force.com, including Salesforce.com's Chatter social and mobile service, as well as the Force.com relational database and other services.

Details on pricing and the start of commercial availability of the service will come later this year, said Lindsay Armstrong, senior vice president of international sales at Salesforce.com.

VMforce has been the subject of speculation since the two companies first disclosed the name two weeks ago, saying details of the partnership would be disclosed during a webcast on April 27 hosted by Paul Maritz, president and CEO of VMware, and Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.

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