“THERE ARE VERY FEW ROADBLOCKS FOR DEVELOPERS WHO USE CLOUD FOUNDRY”
In the list of available options to ease cloud developments for developers and DevOps, Cloud Foundry comes out on top. The platform helps organisations advance their presence without transforming their existing infrastructure. But what has influenced the community to form a non-profit organisational model called the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which includes members like Cisco, Dell EMC, IBM, Google and Microsoft, among various other IT giants? Jagmeet Singh of OSFY speaks with Chip Childers, co-founder, Cloud Foundry Foundation, to find an answer to this question. Childers is also the chief technology officer of the Cloud Foundry platform and is an active member of the Apache Software Foundation. Edited excerpts...
Q What is the ultimate aim of the Cloud Foundry Foundation?
The Cloud Foundry Foundation exists to steward the massive open source development efforts that have built up Cloud Foundry open source software, as well as to enable its adoption globally. We don’t do this for the sake of the software itself, but with the goal of helping organisations around the world become much more effective and strategic in their use of technology. The Cloud Foundry platform is the foundational technology upon which over half of the Fortune 500 firms are digitally transforming themselves.
Q How is the Cloud Foundry platform different from OpenStack?
Cloud Foundry and OpenStack solve completely different problems. OpenStack projects are primarily about infrastructure automation, while Cloud Foundry is an application platform that can deploy itself onto any infrastructure, including OpenStack itself. Other infrastructure options on top of which one can run Cloud Foundry include Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, RackHD, VMware vSphere, VMware Photon Platform and other options supported by the community.
Cloud Foundry does not just assume that its underlying infrastructure can be provisioned and managed by an API. It actually relies on that fact, so that the Cloud Foundry development community can focus on what application developers need out of an application-centric, multi-cloud platform.
Q In what way does Cloud Foundry ease working with cloud applications for DevOps?
The Cloud Foundry architecture is actually two different ‘platforms’. At the lowest level is Cloud Foundry BOSH, which is responsible for infrastructure abstraction/automation, distributed system release management and platform health management. Above that is the Cloud Foundry Runtime, which is focused on serving the application developers’ needs. The two layers work together to provide a highly automated operational experience, very frequently achieving operator-toapplication ratios of 1:1000.
Q How does the containerbased platform make application development easy for developers?
The design and evolution of the
Cloud Foundry Runtime platform is highly focused on the DX (developer experience). While the Cloud Foundry Runtime does make use of containers within the architecture (in fact, Cloud Foundry’s use of container technology predates Docker by years), these are not the focus of a developer’s experience with the platform. What makes the Cloud Foundry Runtime so powerful for a developer is its ease of use.
Simply ‘cf push’ your code into the system and let it handle the details of creating, managing and maintaining containers. Similarly, the access to various backing services — like the database, message queues, cache clusters and legacy system APIs — is designed to be exceptionally easy for developers. Overall, Cloud Foundry makes application development easier by eliminating a massive amount of the friction that is typically generated when shipping the code to production.
Q What are the major roadblocks currently faced when developing container-based applications using Cloud Foundry?
There are very few roadblocks for developers who use Cloud Foundry, but there are certainly areas where developers need to adjust older ways of thinking about how to best design the architecture of an application. The best architecture for an application being deployed to Cloud Foundry can be described as ‘microservices’, including choices like each service being independently versioned and deployed. While the microservices architecture may be new for a developer, it is certainly not a roadblock. In fact, even without fully embracing the microservices architecture, a developer can get significant value from deploying to the Cloud Foundry Runtime.
Q Microsoft recently joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation, while Google has been on board since a long time. By when can you expect Amazon to become a key member of the community?
We think that the community and
Amazon can benefit greatly by the latter becoming a part of Cloud Foundry. That said, it is important to note that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is already very well integrated into the Cloud Foundry platform, and is frequently being used as the underlying Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) that Cloud Foundry is deployed on.
Q How do you view Microsoft’s decision on joining the nonprofit organisation?
Microsoft has long been a member of the Cloud Foundry community, so the decision to join the Cloud Foundry Foundation represents a formalisation of its corporate support for the project. We are very happy that the company has chosen to take this step, and we are already starting to see the impact of this move on the project through increased engagement.
Q Is there any specific plan to encourage IT decision makers at enterprises to deploy Microsoft’s Azure?
The Cloud Foundry Foundation is a vendor-neutral industry association. Therefore, we do not recommend any specific vendor over another. Our goal is to help all vendors integrate well into the Cloud Foundry software, community and market for the purpose of ensuring that the users and customers have a wide range of options for any particular service they may need, including infrastructure, databases, professional services and training.
The Cloud Foundry Foundation exists to steward the massive open source development efforts that have built the Cloud Foundry as open source software as well as to enable its adoption globally.
Q As VMware originally conceived the Cloud Foundry platform back in 2009, how actively does the company now participate in the community?
Cloud Foundry was initially created at VMware, but the platform was transferred to Pivotal Software when it was spun out of VMware and EMC. When the Cloud Foundry Foundation was formed to support the expansion of the ecosystem and contributing community, VMware was a founding Platinum member. VMware remains heavily engaged in the Cloud Foundry Foundation in many ways, from providing engineering talent within the projects to supporting many of our other initiatives. It is a key member of the community.
Q What are the key points an enterprise needs to consider before opting for a cloud solution?
There are two key areas for consideration, based on how I categorise the various services offered by each of the leading cloud vendors, including
Chip Childers, co-founder,
Cloud Foundry Foundation