As a provider of a low-code application development environment, Mendix realized early on it could leverage investments being made by open-source software consortiums such as Cloud Foundry to lower its development costs and extend its appeal in the enterprise. Now Mendix is applying the same strategy to the Kubernetes container orchestration software being developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).
Mendix CTO Johan den Haan says via support for Kubernetes, Mendix expects to increase the appeal of a low-code development environment among organizations that have embraced containers to accelerate application development. Mendix, he says, is the first provider of a low-code development environment to be able to deploy applications across Kubernetes-orchestrated server clusters using Docker containers.
To help manage the DevOps workflow associated with those applications, den Haan notes that Mendix also support the Jenkins automation server that is frequently employed to enable continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD).
den Haan says Mendix expects many organizations to deploy Kubernetes as a container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment alongside platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments based on the software developed by Cloud Foundry. Mendix views the Open Service Broker application programming interface (API) put forward by Cloud Foundry to provide service-brokering functionality that will enable applications to be deployed on either a Cloud Foundry PaaS or a CaaS based on Kubernetes. That capability, he adds, should go a long way to fostering hybrid cloud computing environments made up of instances of Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry running on-premises and on a public cloud.
The decision to employ a PaaS is usually made at the senior level of the IT organization. Deploying all the modules of a distribution of Cloud Foundry is a significant undertaking. The decision to employ Kubernetes is, for now at least, more likely to be driven by developers that want to be able to manage deployments of containers on a cluster. Frequently, developers who don’t have access to a PaaS find Kubernetes to be at least more accessible. However, Kubernetes can be complex to deploy and master. But den Haan notes the Kubernetes community has made a lot of progress in terms of making Kubernetes easier to deploy, thanks to automation frameworks such as Kubo, which is based on BOSH software to automate the provisioning of cluster that is overseen by The Cloud Foundry Foundation.
No matter what platform containers ultimately get deployed on, den Haan says most developers will use containers to become more agile. Most IT organizations will manage containers strewn across PaaS and CaaS environments as well as on individual virtual machines and bare-metal servers. The decision as to where those containers will be deployed will come down to as much personal preference as it will the maturity of the IT organization.
Given that new IT reality the difference between success and failure when it comes to containers will ultimately come down to the sophistication of the DevOps processes being employed to manage them across all those environments.