Java Framework for Cloud Apps? Red Hat, Google Working On It

Red Hat, Google team up on open source initiative that willl allow Java developers to deploy Google App Engine applications on JBoss app servers without modifications.

Red Hat's JBoss Application Server team is partnering with and Google's Cloud Platform team to create a new Java programming framework for cloud applications.

Dubbed "CapeDwarf," Gartner analyst Yefim Natis said the project has great potential as it is being implemented by a "cloud native" and an "enterprise native." The open-source initiative aims to create an implementation of the Google App Engine (GAE) API that allows Java developers to deploy their applications on Red Hat's JBoss app server, unmodified. This implementation will use existing JBoss APIs (Infinispan, JGroups, PicketLink, HornetQ, etc.) As the project website sums it up: "The ultimate goal of the CapeDwarf project is to fully implement all the APIs of the Google App Engine."

CapeDwarf is a "Java framework that is designed by cloud-native Google that really understands Cloud and implemented by enterprise-native Red Hat which really understand Enterprise," Natis wrote. "And neither the framework nor its implementation are theoretical designs that will need years to mature. The programming model is well-tested by Google's customers and the underlying JBoss AS is battle-proven by JBoss enterprise customers."

CapeDwarf has been around for a while. The project was launched in October 2011 by founder and project lead Aleš Justin. The Slovenia-based Justin, who is Sr. Principal Software Engineer at JBoss, said that the Google/Red Hat partnership focuses mainly on the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for the GAE API. The goal is to be "compliant to real GAE as much as possible, plus running nicely on OpenShift." OpenShift is Red Hat's cloud computing PaaS.

But the future of this programming framework for cloud-based apps depends in part, at least at this point in its development, on whether "either company is big enough for the job," Natis said, adding, "Does Google really care about the enterprise? Is Red Hat ready to lead? Care and leadership would be required to turn a small niche project into an industry standard…. I think there is a great opportunity here for the two companies to contribute to the industry and to their own reputation, influence, scope and future."

CapeDwarf is still under development, but it currently runs on top of JBoss on Red Hat's OpenShift or on Google's Compute Engine. The CapeDwarf project is being hosted by the JBoss Community and on GitHub. Beta versions are available now for download from the JBoss web site. The project source code is being licensed under an Apache License 2.0.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].