Enterprises moving applications to container-based clouds will benefit from an industry-wide, open source effort to coordinate tech development, according to founding members of the newly created Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Led by the Linux Foundation, the new group includes such companies as Google, CoreOS, Docker and VMware.
The goal of the new foundation is to "advance the state of the art for building cloud-native applications and services." Cloud native means those applications and services will support containers, dynamic scheduling and micro services.
The creation of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation comes at the same time that Google has released a production-ready version of its Kubernetes open source container orchestration system. Kubernetes is designed to help enterprises more easily manage clusters of Linux containers as a single system to simplify operations and speed up development.
Advancing Development at 'Internet Scale'
"By bringing together the open source community's very best talent and code in a neutral and collaborative forum, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation aims to advance the state of the art of application development at Internet scale," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.
While cloud-native application development today enables enterprises to quickly and easily scale their businesses, that work can be resource-intensive, usually requiring an expert team that can integrate and manage many disparate technologies. The new foundation aims to make developers' jobs easier by promoting the alignment of technologies and platforms "driven and informed by technical merit and end-user value."
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation will also work with the Open Container Initiative, which was launched last month under the auspices of the Linux Foundation. While the new foundation includes many of the same members as the Open Container Initiative, two companies are conspicuously absent: Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.
'Seeding' Foundation with Kubernetes
"My take here is Google is hoping that if they can get people to use Kubernetes and they have the best cloud to run Kubernetes that they can eventually be in a position to migrate those workloads to [Google Cloud Platform]," Andrew Clay Shafer, senior director of technology at the cloud computing-focused company Pivotal, told us. "If [Amazon Web Services] and Microsoft, [which are really the two other large scale public cloud providers], see this as a Google Cloud marketing play, then it's easy to understand why they might be reluctant to support it."
Google plans to "seed" the Cloud Native Computing Foundation with Kubernetes, said product manager Craig Mcluckie, yesterday on the Google Cloud Platform Blog. He noted that the foundation will govern the future open source development of the system to "ensure it continues to work well on any infrastructure: public cloud, private cloud, or bare metal."
IDC analyst Gary Chen told us, "I think the CNCF is a good thing to foster more open and unified development of cloud-native, open source projects like Kubernetes and others. There certainly will be other initiatives as well, but this aligns a lot of the open source contributors and container tools together and the Linux Foundation is obviously well versed in managing these projects and communities."
Because Google is probably the largest user of container technology right now, advancing container technology is very important to the company, Chen added. Amazon Web Services, on the other hand, has focused on building its own services, while Microsoft has only recently started supporting some Linux-based services, so it's little surprise neither company has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as founding members, Chen said.