Among the deluge of Oracle announcements this week was a deepening of its work in open source containers and serverless computing. These moves were touted as allowing enterprises and operators to avoid being locked into a single infrastructure provider.
On the container front, Oracle launched its Container Native Application Development Platform. It includes a managed Kubernetes service for clustered container deployments; a private container registry service for storing and sharing container images across deployments; and a container lifecycle management CI/CD service for microservice applications. That last bit is based on Oracle’s acquisition of Wercker.
Bob Quillin, vice president for developer relations at Oracle, in a blog post described the platform as a mix between an integrated developer experience with an open, cloud-neutral application stack that can avoid vendor lock.
The platform builds on Oracle’s recent push into the container space. Last month the company integrated the open source Kubernetes container orchestrator into its Oracle Linux product. It also open sourced its Kubernetes Terraform template.
At the same time, Oracle joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which houses the Kubernetes project.
Open Source Fn
Slicing the cloud pie even thinner, Oracle open sourced its Fn serverless developer platform. The move allows developers to build and run applications without the need to provision, scale, or manage any infrastructure. Those applications can be housed and run from any cloud platform.
The serverless platform includes a server and command-line interface (CLI); a Java function development kit (FDK); and Flow for orchestrating functions directly in code. It can run locally on a developer’s laptop; is container native; and supports various programming languages, including Node.js with Amazon Web Services’ Lambda compatibility.
“Here you simply have events raised from a variety of sources, you write functions that respond to these events, and you deploy them,” said Thomas Kurian, president for product development at Oracle, speaking at this week’s Oracle OpenWorld 2017 event in San Francisco. “You don’t have to worry about understating the infrastructure on which it deploys. And underneath the covers, our serverless framework runs Docker and Kubernetes. This allows you to become more agile and quick to deploy AI to build applications.”
The open source nature of the Fn platform could be a welcome sign for the nascent serverless computing market, which analysts note remains somewhat confined by proprietary solutions.
“Vendor lock in with serverless is more pressing than what is happening with containers,” said Charlie Li, chief cloud officer at Capgemini. “If you are a full Microsoft shop or all-in with AWS, this is not a problem. But if you want to have a multi-cloud environment, it’s not easy to migrate serverless applications across platforms.”
Whether Oracle’s open source move solves the problem remains to be seen. However, the company’s expressed motives behind the plan appear to be in line with garnering increased cloud efficiency.
“We believe serverless will eventually lead to a new, more efficient cloud development and economic model,” Quillin wrote. “In the end, it’s all about raising the abstraction level so that developers never think about servers, VMs [virtual machines], and other IaaS [infrastructure-as-a-service] components, giving everybody better utilization by using less resources with faster product delivery and increased agility.”
SDxCentral Senior Editor Jessica Lyons Hardcastle contributed to this story.