The Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF), in partnership with VMware, today launched Paketo Buildpacks, which are based on a set of specifications and tools for compiling code and configuring containers by automatically detecting which language, frameworks and runtimes are required.
Chip Childers, executive director for the CFF, says Paketo Buildpacks marry an approach that the CFF has been refining to deploy containers in a Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment for more than five years to a Cloud Native Builtpack (CNB) specification being advanced by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). That collaboration effort makes it possible to employ Paketo Buildpacks on any container platform, including Kubernetes, he says.
The CFF is now working toward making the Cloud Foundry Buildpacks that are currently available for the Cloud Foundry PaaS compatible with Paketo Buildpacks, Childers adds.
With more IT teams under increasing pressure to deliver code faster, Childers says Paketo Builpacks provides a method to more rapidly deploy application code in a way that eliminates the need to create customizations for each deployment platform. In fact, Childers notes that in the current economic climate the desire to among IT teams to develop those customizations is likely to wane. Smaller teams of developers will need to be much more efficient, which he says will require most development teams to spend as much time as possible on the code that truly differentiates their application.
While it is clear more applications will soon be deployed in the cloud as part of an effort to make IT more resilient in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not clear to what degree those applications will be truly cloud-native. Many IT organizations may decide to lift and shift existing monolithic applications into the cloud before rewriting them. Others, however, will accelerate application development timetables as nascent digital business projects are transformed into the business continuity strategy on which the organization now depends. In those instances, the speed at which a cloud-native application can be built and deployed is now of paramount importance.
In general, Childers says the CFF will continue to extend cloud-native technologies it has already developed to other platforms where it makes sense. The primary mission of the CFF is create the best application development experience possible, he notes, which historically has required the CFF to automate the provisioning and management of the underlying infrastructure its PaaS was deployed on. Now that the CFF has begun to incorporate other projects such as Kubernetes to accomplish that task, Childers says there is now more time and resources to focus on the developer experience.
Of course, the Cloud Foundry PaaS is not the only platform for building cloud-native applications using containers that is vying for the attention of developers. What is clear, however, is that many of the abstraction issues that organizations using containers to build applications have already been encountered by the CFF community. The challenge and the opportunity now are to figure out the best way to leverage that experience in a way that eliminates the need for the container community to reinvent many of the same wheels over again.