BOSTON – The Cloud Foundry Foundation continues to garner strong support from the developer community. But the ongoing surge in interest around the use of Kubernetes to exploit containers for cloud deployments has placed a focus on how the Cloud Foundry Foundation will evolve.
The topic of Kubernetes integration with Cloud Foundry was part of several sessions and keynote addresses at this week’s Cloud Foundry Summit. While the organization has tangentially begun to integrate the container orchestrator into its work, it remains cautious on a stronger embrace.
“At the end of the day our main focus is in being the best platform for developers,” explained Abby Kearns, executive director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
Kearns noted that last year the organization focused on initiatives like the Open Container Initiative (OCI) and Container Networking Interface (CNI). This year that focus is on Kubernetes, Istio, and Ebony.
“There are always going to be these emerging technologies, and a lot of momentum around projects supporting those emerging technologies,” Kearns said.
Chip Childers, CTO at the Cloud Foundry Foundation, indicated that the organization was working through gaining more confidence in the maturity and direction of Kubernetes and how it would fit into Cloud Foundry.
“We don’t chase the shiny ball,” Childers said, noting that the organization was more focused on only adding components that will help developers.
Cloud Foundry is viewed as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), while Kubernetes is viewed more as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). This distinction has some vendors working through an “and” rather than an “or” deployment model.
Don Boulia, general manager for IBM’s Cloud Platform, said Cloud Foundry has more maturity in terms of being able to stand up containers and operationalize those deployments. But, he said that the Kubernetes community has been very aggressive in bolstering the platform and expects that gap to close in the near term.
Childers noted that IBM’s direction was a perfect example of how the two platform can coexist to the benefit of developers.
SUSE, meanwhile, launched a slightly different model as part of its latest Cloud Application Platform. It’s using most of the Cloud Foundry components, but is using Kubernetes instead of a Cloud Foundry product for deploying containers. The SUSE platform this week garnered full compliance and certification with Cloud Foundry.
Jennifer Kotzen, senior product marketing manager at SUSE, said that it was important to provide both Kubernetes and the Cloud Foundry interface for users. But, the company does see a point in moving more work to Kubernetes.
“Bosh is a powerful and great platform,” explained Ronald Nunan, senior product manager at SUSE. “But both Bosh and Kubernetes are complex and it’s not easy to manage both. Why do you need to have access to both when you can leverage Kubernetes to do more.”
Bosh was originally developed by VMware to make it simpler to deploy a distributed system. Since then, Google and Pivotal, a VMware sister company that curates a distribution of the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS), developed a new platform as an extension of Bosh that can be used to deploy Kubernetes.
That new platform was Kubo, which last year was renamed as Cloud Foundry Container Runtime (CFCR). It was also made the organization’s standard approach for deploying containers using Bosh and Kubernetes.
Childers said that the Cloud Foundry Foundation was continuing to see interest and development of Bosh as a way to manage Kubernetes deployments. But, he did admit that it’s natural for vendors to implement different models to better fit their own architectures.
“The different vendors have different architectures in their stack and different deployment models,” Childers said. He cited Alibaba Cloud, which this week adopted Cloud Foundry and support for Bosh.
“We can take advantage of the ability of our community to try things out and the value that emerges is what ends up being core to the Cloud Foundry platform,” Childers said.
The actual depth in which the Cloud Foundry Foundation plans to integrate Kubernetes remains to be seen, but it’s expected to see at least some movement this year.
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