Microsoft announces new Spring Cloud offering on Azure

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Today at SpringOne, Microsoft and VMware announced a new managed Spring Cloud service, Spring Cloud Enterprise running on Azure.

Building on the 2019 launch of Azure Spring Cloud, before Pivotal’s acquisition by VMware, it adds elements of VMware’s Tanzu with a focus on enterprise management. A private preview will be launching sometime later in 2021.

Azure Spring Cloud is designed to support running Spring Boot applications at scale, with Microsoft managing security updates, monitoring, and scaling, and it's so far been a successful offering, with customers like Digital Realty and Swiss Re.

There’s a lot of experience with Spring, with many big enterprise users running thousands of applications that have yet to be moved to the cloud and with nearly 60% of Java developers using Spring. In order for them to start this transition, they need additional tooling to support running and modernising these existing applications.

By adding VMware Tanzu tools to the existing Spring Cloud service, Azure Spring Cloud Enterprise is intended to fill this gap, adding an extra tier to the existing Basic and Standard offerings. While the underlying Azure infrastructure remains much the same, the new service initially adds support for Tanzu’s Build, Application Configuration, and Service Registry services. Spring Cloud Gateway and Spring Cloud Data Flow are planned for future updates. These tools will make it easier for customers to automate container creation and operations with Buildpacks, simplifying moving on-premises applications to Azure.

Jean Atelsek from 451 Research notes that Microsoft’s intent to focus on Spring Boot applications running on managed Kubernetes is key: “It is a best-of-both-worlds proposition, enabling quick builds using sensible defaults and accelerators but also allowing companies to tailor software to fit into their IT environments.”

At the same time, Lara Greden from IDC points out the benefits of bundling: “By recognising the importance of a fully supported experience for developers and architecture teams and with a pricing scheme similar to the Kubernetes offerings, the companies have put a beneficial wrapper on an already valuable set of technical capabilities.”

The new service also includes expanded support, with VMware offering Spring Runtime support services on top of Microsoft’s existing Azure support offerings.