The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) currently houses 20 different open source projects at various levels of development. However, most of those projects continue to rely heavily on code contributions from the companies in which those projects initially emerged.
Fintan Ryan, an analyst at Redmonk, recently compiled CNCF insight into a blog post that showed this discrepancy across most projects. The information was pulled late last month from Github data.
For the most part the link between initiating company or companies and ongoing code contributions is obvious.
As an example, Uber donated source code to Jaeger, which is a tracing project that can be used for monitoring microservices-based distributed systems. The Redmonk data showed that Uber was the largest contributor of ongoing code to the project, well ahead of contributions from Red Hat and Knewton.
“This is not to say that this is a bad thing, it is not – it is just a statement of reality,” Ryan wrote. “While the broad community around the projects may be large, the number of significant core contributors is relatively small, and the number of truly independent contributors is smaller still.”
CNCF Director Dan Kohn had previously noted that each project is required to have a neutral governance process.
“We are very comfortable that each project is run independently,” Kohn said. “We provide a set of services to those projects, but to the highest degree possible we don’t try to govern those projects.”
Chris Aniszczyk, COO at CNCF, said the organization’s sees this pattern common for many of its projects when they start. He cited that Google was a significant contributor to Kubernetes when it first began, with the container orchestration project having initially been donated by Google into CNCF.
“We look to guide our projects through a lifecycle and help them get to a sustainable level of collaboration and development,” Aniszczyk explained.
He explained that CNCF does have the ability to “archive” or remove projects that lose traction or are no longer being used. Aniszczyk said CNCF had not yet made such a move, but that it was possible that a project could be archived within the next six to 12 months.
Aniszczyk also reiterated a note in the Redmonk blog post that pointed to CNCF’s DevStats tool as another way to glean insight into the various projects. That tool shows interactions and commits to each CNCF project going back to when that project was initially adopted into the organization.
“We worked pretty hard on that tool and it really shows the interaction the community has with our projects,” Aniszczyk said.
Kubernetes an Outlier
The one project omitted from the Redmonk list was Kubernetes, which was the first project adopted by CNCF and also the first to hit “graduate” status. Kubernetes has seen widespread adoption as a container orchestration tool, as well as growing use to orchestrate other aspects of cloud-native deployments.
A recent Redmonk survey found 71 percent of the Fortune 100 use containers, and more than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies use Kubernetes as their container orchestration platform. The research firm noted that as of the first quarter of this year, “Kubernetes is arguably the most visible of core infrastructure projects.”
“Kubernetes has gone from curiosity to mainstream acceptance, crossing any number of chasms in the process,” wrote Redmonk co-founder Stephen O’Grady in a blog post. “The project has been successful enough that even companies and projects that have competing container implementation strategies have been compelled to adopt it.”