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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

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