If you are developing applications today are you developing with cloud technology in mind? Most developers know that the cloud has its advantages, offering speed of deployment, reduced costs and in most cases, platform independence.

For an app to be a true cloud app it should be able to support multi-tenancy and virtualisation. This will typically separate the cloud app from the standard web app. Each of these new platforms for developing cloud apps are affordable and agile, reducing time to market and software development complexities.

So which five applications development environments are offering cloud technology platforms that are gaining in strength at the moment?


1. CloudFoundry

Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service, providing a choice of clouds, developer frameworks and application services. Initiated by VMware, with broad industry support, Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications. It is an open source project and is available through a variety of private cloud distributions and public cloud instances, including CloudFoundry.com.

Cloud Foundry is a way for software developers to build web applications, deploy them to the net, and scale them to more users as needed — without having to worry about the computing infrastructure that runs beneath them.

It developed an open sourced Cloud Foundry last year and continues to support the development of the NoSQL database Redis. And now it has acquired Nicera, which is heavily involved with OpenStack, another open source cloud building platform that operates at a level below Cloud Foundry.


2. Google App Engine

Google App Engine lets you run web applications on Google’s infrastructure without servers to maintain: you just upload your application, and it’s ready to serve your users from your own domain name or using a free name on the appspot.com domain. You can share your application with the world, or limit access to members of your organization.

Additionally, it offers great flexibility – as it is written in more than one programming language, using the App Engine’s Java runtime environment enables you to develop apps using standard Java technologies such as, JVM, servlets and the Java programming language.

With App Engine, you only pay for what you use. There are no set-up costs and no recurring fees. The resources your application uses, such as storage and bandwidth, are measured by the gigabyte, and billed at competitive rates. You control the maximum amounts of resources your app can consume, so it always stays within your budget.


3. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s homage to the world of open source computing is evident Azure. The company is pushing PHP, Node.js, Python, Java, and even MySQL (kind of).

Azure is a cloud filled with racks and racks of machines like other clouds, but it also offers a wider collection of the building blocks enterprise managers need to assemble modern, flexible websites.  There are tools for debugging your code, sending emails, and installing databases like MongoDB and ClearDB’s version of MySQL.

Azure can provide native capabilities for you to quickly network these environments together and can leverage private networks for just your VMs or extend your own data center into the cloud so that the machines have full participation.


4. Appcara

Appcara was created by a group of cloud computing industry veterans, its founders having previously built industry leading Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud computing services such as the Savvis Virtual Private Data Center and the Sun cloud.

Appcara’s vision is to enable flexible cloud platforms for application integration and mobility and streamlining and accelerating time to market for these highly complex, distributed applications.

AppStack collaborates the whole application environment whereby languages and platforms are no obstacle and also, offers automation throughout the entire application lifecycle.  With this tool, users can deploy cloud applications with better management during their lifecycle than with other cloud development platforms.


5. AppFog

Young as it is, AppFog has reached its 100,000 apps deployed milestone twice as fast as Heroku did and wants to do for the world of developer platforms what Google did for email.

AppFog’s PaaS offers developers a huge range of languages to work with including Java, Python, Node, .Net, Ruby, PHP, MySQL, Mongo, Django, and PostgreSQL. On top of this, AppFog lets developers and companies deploy on private and public clouds, a rare find among PaaS providers.

AppFog launches fast, runs fast with less server load and accelerated performance without configuring servers, firewalls, Apache, security, or installing frameworks.