BOSTON – The Cloud Foundry Foundation scored a nice win by gaining access to Alibaba Cloud and, in turn, having the world’s third-largest cloud provider join the organization. The move also provides Cloud Foundry with access to the China market.
Hong Choing, director of business development for Alibaba Cloud, said the move was about providing more choice for developers.
“From a developer perspective, as a public cloud vendor we love developers and the ecosystem,” Choing said of Cloud Foundry from this week’s Cloud Foundry Summit in Boston.
The Cloud Foundry platform is an open source, multi-cloud application platform-as-a-service (PaaS). It’s governed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
Alibaba is China’s largest cloud provider and also has data centers in Silicon Valley and Virginia. It has partnered with U.S. companies including Nvidia and Cisco on cloud data center technology.
Worldwide, Choing said Alibaba Cloud is available in 43 zones. Cloud Foundry Foundation Executive Director Abby Kearns singled out that reach as part of a keynote address at this week’s event. She also noted the integration expands Cloud Foundry into China.
“Now China-based enterprises can experience that combined benefits of Cloud Foundry and Alibaba Cloud together,” Kearns said.
A recent Gartner report had Alibaba as the No. 3 infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) public cloud vendor in the world. Its 3-percent market share was significantly smaller than class heavyweights Amazon Web Services (44 percent) and Microsoft Azure (7 percent), but its nearly 127-percent year-over-year growth between 2015 and 2016 stomped its larger rivals.
“That tells us they are getting very aggressive in terms of growth strategy,” said Gartner analyst Sig Nag, who authored the cloud market share research note. “Their largest market has been China, but they are clearly moving westbound.”
By joining the organization, Alibaba’s cloud is merged into upstream work within the Cloud Foundry Foundation. “For our partners and developers, it’s now easier to interoperate with Alibaba Cloud,” Choing said.
Chip Childress, CTO for the Cloud Foundry Foundation, said that the Alibaba integration also allows users to tap its Bosh project in accessing the Alibaba Cloud.
The Alibaba Cloud integration involves a cloud provider interface (CPI) for Bosh. This provides access to Cloud Foundry Application Runtime (CFAR) and Container Runtime (CFCR) workloads.
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 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 CFCR. It was also made the organization’s standard approach for deploying containers using Bosh and Kubernetes.
CFCR can also be used to deploy CFAR, which was previously known as Elastic Runtime, for a Cloud Application Platform. CFAR is an app-centric platform designed to support application development lifecycle.
Similar to CFCR, CFAR is based on Bosh. Both platforms include an Open Service Broker API designed to ease application integration.
The Alibaba Cloud news followed on the heels of IBM adding a Cloud Foundry layer for developers that want to run container platforms on top of Kubernetes and the IBM Cloud. The IBM move is targeted at helping enterprises gain more control over their container deployments and resolve some of the challenges of working with Kubernetes.
During an interview at this week’s Cloud Foundry Summit, Don Boulia, general manager for IBM’s Cloud Platform, said the deal will solve issues enterprises have when using IBM’s Kubernetes and cloud infrastructure. Companies need control over where they put their workloads due to geopolitical or regulatory concerns; and they need a level of isolation to guarantee that their content is not mixing with content from other companies.