At the SUSECON 2019 conference this week, SUSE announced that it has advanced its effort to unify the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment with Kubernetes by adding support for Project Eirini in a technology preview of the next version of its distribution of the Cloud Foundry runtime due out next month.
Project Eirini is an open source initiative led by the Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) that enables the Diego container orchestration engine, which was developed for Cloud Foundry, to be replaced by Kubernetes. Previously, SUSE made available a distribution of the Cloud Foundry PaaS running on top of Kubernetes.
In addition, SUSE announced it has been formally certified as a Kubernetes services provider by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which oversees the development of Kubernetes.
Jennifer Kotzen, senior product marketing manager for SUSE, says Project Eirini is significant because it eliminates what has become a redundant layer of container orchestration with the Cloud Foundry PaaS environment. SUSE envisions IT organizations will want to deploy the Cloud Foundry PaaS on Kubernetes to take advantage of the advanced application development environment that has been built on top of Cloud Foundry as well as deploy Kubernetes within a container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment, says Kotzen.
Regardless of the path chosen, SUSE believes Kubernetes will become a critical foundational element of any organization’s multi-cloud computing strategy, adds Kotzen. To advance that goal, SUSE has been investing in its own distribution of the open source OpenStack framework based on the latest Rocky distribution made available by the OpenStack Foundation. Prior to becoming an independent company once again, SUSE was using a distribution of OpenStack from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), which holds a majority stake in Micro Focus, the previous owner of SUSE. The SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 platform promises to integrate the best elements of both distributions. Kotzen says the SUSE distribution of OpenStack will be employed to manage instances of Kubernetes running in on-premises environments as well as on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and now Google Cloud Platform (GCP) cloud environments. OpenStack Cloud 9 will also include support for OpenStack Ironic, which makes it possible to employ OpenStack on environments running bare-metal servers in addition to virtual machines.
In the meantime, SUSE continues to grow. SUSE claims revenue grew approximately 15% in fiscal year 2018 as it passed the $400 million revenue mark for the first time. SUSE also revealed it has added more than 300 people in the past 12 months, which brings the total number of SUSE employees to roughly 1,750 across 34 countries.
An independent SUSE clearly sees the transition to Kubernetes as an opportunity to expand its reach and focus at a time when arch rival Red Hat is being acquired by IBM. As the operating systems on top of which Kubernetes is deployed becomes a little less relevant, there’s an opportunity for SUSE to apply the same commitment it showed to a curated instance of Linux to both Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry. The biggest challenge SUSE may face in the short term is simply gaining enough visibility among enterprise IT organizations to be considered.