CNCF Embraces Dapr to Simplify Building Distributed Apps

The Technical Oversight Committee for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) revealed today that Dapr, a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it simpler to build distributed applications, has become an incubating project within the consortium.

Mark Fussell, Dapr maintainer and member for the steering committee for the project, said Dapr is deployed as a container sidecar that exposes a set of primitive APIs for publishing and subscribing, managing state and secrets, employing event triggers and making service-to-service calls. There is also a command line interface (CLI) and software development kit (SDK) to make the platform more accessible to developers as well as a components-contrib repository through which developers can extend Dapr.

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Dapr is also already integrated with several other CNCF projects, including gRPC for internal communications, SPIFFIE identities for access control lists (ACLs), telemetry data generated in an OpenTelemetry format, usage of Prometheus monitoring software to collect metrics, the ability to use CloudEvents as a publish and subscribe message format and, finally, an ability to natively run on Kubernetes using operator tools.

The Dapr project roadmap includes the addition of a new Configuration API that promises to make it easier for developers to manage configuration for their applications and get notified whenever configurations change, as well as a Query API that makes it easier for developers to query and filter data in Dapr state stores.

In addition, the project is looking to add support for additional gRPC and WASM-based components that’ll allow dynamic discoverability of state stores, pub/sub brokers, bindings and other Dapr components. Finally, new Concurrency APIs that will unblock scenarios such as leader election are also being discussed in the Dapr community.

Rather than each developer having to write that same code over again for each application, Dapr makes these services more easily reusable. That container sidecar can be deployed on a Kubernetes cluster or alongside a legacy monolithic application running on a virtual machine, notes Fussell.

Originally created in 2019 at Microsoft, the 1.0 release of Dapr came to fruition last February. The Dapr Steering and Technical Committee that governs the project includes representatives from Alibaba, Intel and Microsoft among its members. Organizations that use Dapr in production environments include Alibaba Cloud, Bosch, Legentic, Tdcare, Tencent, Swoop Funding, Man Group and Zeiss.

There are now more than 1,300 contributors to Dapr and a total of 26 million Docker pulls have been made. Fussell says he hopes there will soon be wider adoption in on-premises IT environments as more organizations build and deploy microservices-based applications that span a hybrid cloud computing environment.

It’s unclear just yet to what degree Dapr might be used to integrate microservices-based applications with monolithic applications across a hybrid cloud computing environment. Regardless of the use case, however, it’s apparent that Dapr provides a lightweight approach to invoking distributed computing services that developers can employ anywhere without necessarily counting on an already-deployed API gateway or service mesh.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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