Unless you live under a rock, you have heard of Cloud Foundry. However there is still a lot of skepticism out there about PaaS in general and Cloud Foundry in particular.

I’ve been an open source hacker for over a decade. Compiling linux kernels, hacking MySQL, and generally getting my hands into every system that I could. I have also authored over a dozen open source libraries, some being used widely.

When I saw PaaS in the early days, with EngineYard and Heroku, I thought it was really cool and inspiring. Like many hackers though, it is hard to trust something or fully enjoy it when you can not get under the hood.

Why does Cloud Foundry matter?

EDIT — It is a great PaaS. As the first commentator noted, none of this matters if the technology sucks. Cloud Foundry is a great, easy to use technology that works reliably, simply, and smartly. It supports many languages and many services. To a hacker and tinkerer, it is a haven for fun.

It is well designed. Example: A message bus acts as a nerve center to various components via pub/sub. For example, when a new app server comes online, it subscribes to listen for new app deploy requests. When one comes in, all app servers publish a response on the mbus, but the mbus only lets the first request get through to the controller, reducing the noisiness of the system overall. One of the cool things this naturally does is a darwinian sort to deploy the app to the best app server available. If the app server is under load, it responds slower. If an app server has network latency, it responds slower.

It is open source. You can modify it. I did, here is the pull request. So have many others. This is how Cloud Foundry supports Erlang, Python, Perl and many other languages. One of the biggest problems I have heard hackers have with PaaS is they have no control over it, it is a black box and they have no say over how it is run. With Cloud Foundry, you finally have a say. You can modify the code and a Cloud Foundry provider like AppFog can have your code running within days.

No vendor lock-in. Lock-in is more than data lock-in. With IaaS and PaaS, it is system lock-in. If you build against any other PaaS, you start using dependencies on their systems. Moving to any other system becomes burdensome and hard, sometimes impossible without a complete rewrite. With Cloud Foundry, you can move your entire system to any other Cloud Foundry. You can run Cloud Foundry yourself (see cloudfoundry.org and Cloud Foundry Micro), you can find another Cloud Foundry provider.

CenturyLink Cloud uses Iron Foundry. A .NET version of Cloud Foundry.

Today you can deploy today to Singapore, Ireland and US East. Later this week you will have Tokyo, Brazil and US West.