A Time-to-Value Story with Cloud Foundry

In a previous discussion, we took a deep look into Time to Value (TTV) and its place amongst the imperatives on the CIO agenda today. While academic in nature, I’ve been asked for examples of technology solutions that can help IT organizations improve total cost of ownership (TCO) savings and faster TTV. One of the examples that’s always top of mind is Platform as a Service (PaaS), specifically Cloud Foundry.


Our introduction to Cloud Foundry began just a couple of years ago when VMware began to acquire companies focused on application platforms and technologies and not just server virtualization. We were intrigued with the mix of SpringSource and Gemstone products, eventually branded under the family of products known as vFabric, and the commercialization of popular open source projects such as Tomcat, PostgreSQL, and RabbitMQ. It initially seemed like a haphazard foray into the world of applications, the result of an infrastructure company attempting to expand into a space they didn’t know. And then came Cloud Foundry…

For those that may not be familiar with it, Cloud Foundry is an open source project, licensed under Apache License 2.0, that was initially released in 2011. Over the last 2 years, it has evolved as the leader in open source PaaS, and with the 2.0 release, has garnered the support of significant contributors and stakeholders, such as VMware, EMC, IBM, HP, Pivotal, SAP, and Rackspace. Cloud Foundry has also been chosen by some of the largest cloud service providers…Japan’s NTT (the largest telco in the world), CenturyLink (the 3rd largest telco in the US), Verizon, and Swisscom…to power their PaaS offerings. And let’s not forget Baidu, the fifth largest website in the world and China’s largest web company, who also chose Cloud Foundry to power its web empire.  That’s quite an accomplishment for an OSS project only a couple of years old.

So with that introduction behind us, let’s talk about how Cloud Foundry can help you to lower your TCO and get faster TTV.

Transformation powered by Cloud Foundry

For most organizations, the top goal on the minds of senior leaders and executives is to achieve greater agility at a lower TCO. PaaS has always promised this by reducing the effort to develop business applications and consequently delivering significant cost savings. In addition to reduced effort, PaaS also promises to deliver the requisite scalability and performance enterprises require.

Cloud Foundry accomplishes all of this, and more. Through its approach to managing application frameworks and its open architecture, it has managed to do what many enterprise-focused PaaS struggle to accomplish. Enterprises can run their on-premise Cloud Foundry implementation on their choice of IaaS (OpenStack, VMware, and AWS support is built-in, with others coming) and plumb in whatever services are desired. Its service broker feature allows companies to bind new or existing technology services to applications deployed in Cloud Foundry, uniting legacy platforms with modern applications.

Jonathan Murray, EVP and CTO of Warner Music Group, explained how Cloud Foundry can help to achieve faster TTV in his presentation at the last Platform CF conference. Watch his video at the jump for an exciting story of the transformation Cloud Foundry has had at Warner Music Group.

Key Takeaways

The key takeaways from Murray’s story at WMG are:

  • The enterprise continues to become increasingly complex, instead build the enterprise out of building blocks assembled in highly adaptable structures (the Composable Enterprise)
  • The speed of the business is limited by the speed with which we can deploy new capabilities in IT. In addition, enterprises need to innovate and experiment at low cost with fast fail cycles
  • Build an IT service factory based on a single platform (Cloud Foundry based). Platform strategy – decouple infrastructure, make data a service, decompose applications, and automate everything (…and I have to interject here and say that this is the most compelling point to me of the whole discussion…music to my ears!)
  • All data needs to be consumed by a standard service interface (…there’s the reference to ‘services’), putting the transaction semantics into the service
  • Incubate, build software+services culture, prioritize new capability (latent demand), and replace, not migrate, applications. Organizations will that they can’t afford to deal with existing and every-increasing complexities and the friction that results from that; instead, jump to a “blank sheet of paper”.

These points were not intended to be a complete transcript of Jonathan Murray’s presentation…and if you’re at this point of this article and you still haven’t watched it, stop, watch, and come back.

Your Turn, the Time is Right

Getting to the fast time-to-value is not an overnight thing. It involves quite a bit of transformation from where you’re at today, and impacts people, processes, and technology. And for many organizations, it will be a painful transformation…but it will be one that pays dividends back to the business each time IT can delivery fast value that meets business demand.  And Cloud Foundry is a key enabler of that reality.

What are your thoughts about TCO savings and faster Time-to-Value with Cloud Foundry? Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments

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