VMware has unveiled its road map and plans for the application development tools and environments the company is building to support its virtualization infrastructure. The plans were announced at the VMworld conference in San Francisco today.

The road map includes vFabric, a data management and application-scaling layer designed to give developers access to the services that make cloud computing compelling.

Shaun Connolly, vice president of SpringSource product management at VMware, said that the vFabric stack will include the many software pieces that SpringSource has been acquiring over the past three years.

“What we’ve assembled—and this is true even if you look at SpringSource prior to the VMware acquisition—is what we feel are a set of optimized platform services,” he said. “They can be instantaneously deployed and configured. It takes seconds or minutes to provision the runtime and the data management layer.”

That data management layer comes from VMware’s acquisition of GemStone earlier this year. “When we acquired GemStone, [we also acquired] their GemFire data fabric, and it is that in-memory database that’s globally distributed,” said Connolly.

“How our customers use that is they let the data sleep in the back-end data stores, but the data fabric is where they access the real-time data. You see memcached a lot these days. GemFire has a variety of those notions; you can store the key-value pairs in it, and there’s even an SQL layer on top of that if you want to access the data in an SQL kind of way. It’s not a traditional database with the bottlenecking layer.”

vFabric is the only portion of the SpringSource development stack that will cost money. The rest of the stack will be built on top of the Spring Framework and the Eclipse-based the Spring Tool Suite. While Spring and its tooling are open source, vFabric will be a commercial offering priced starting at US$500 per server.

Connolly said that all of the pieces of vFabric are available today separately, but vFabric will be launched when further integrations are completed. While vFabric is intrinsically tied to the Spring platform, Connolly said that the individual pieces, such as GemFire and RabbitMQ, are already compatible with .NET and other languages.

“At the end of the day, there’s this whole wave of changing architectures,” he said. “We really think the prior generation leading up to this one is insufficient for global demands. We’re providing a path to cloud-computing architectures for the millions of Java developers out there.”