CNCF Gets a New Boss

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) today named Priyanka Sharma to be its general manager, replacing executive director Dan Kohn who will soon head up an effort by The Linux Foundation to help public health agencies to use open source software to battle epidemics. The CNCF operates as an arm of The Linux Foundation.

Previously director of cloud-native alliances at GitLab, Sharma will focus primarily on coordinating the efforts of the business and technology leadership of the CNCF, which now consists of more than 500 organizations.

As part of that responsibility, Sharma says she will focus on increasing the number of end user organizations that make up the CNCF leadership. Today there are roughly 100 end user organizations participating in the CNCF at some level already, which Sharma notes is larger than any other open source foundation.

At the same time, Sharma says the CNCF will continue to increase the number of education services it provides to train IT professionals as part of an ongoing effort to increase adoption.

Best known for providing a home for the Kubernetes project, the CNCF also hosts a number of other open source projects. Nine of those projects, in addition to Kubernetes, has officially graduated, which signals that the CNCF membership feels the project has reached a sufficient level of maturity to be adopted in production IT environments by mainstream IT organizations. There are an additional 16 projects that have reached an incubation stage, with another 22 projects at an early sandbox stage of development.

Sharma says given the rapid rate at which cloud-native technologies continue to evolve there can be no long-term strategic technology plan for the CNCF. However, Sharma says the CNCF does need to continue to work closely with other open source foundations such as the OpenStack Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, both of which in the last two years have increased the number of open source cloud-native projects they support.

Of course, the term cloud-native is open to interpretation. Loosely, it has been employed to describe technologies that are not tied to a specific virtual machine implementation, which makes it possible for IT teams to deploy them on any public cloud or on-premises IT environment. As these projects continue to evolve, IT organizations are now finding themselves managing legacy monolithic applications based primarily on a specific virtual machine alongside microservices-based applications deployed on cloud-native platforms such as Kubernetes.

The bulk of the applications deployed in the cloud and in on-premises IT environments remain monolithic. However, with each passing day the number of microservices-based applications being deployed steadily increases. At the same time, many monolithic applications are starting to be deconstructed into a set of microservices that promise to make applications more flexible, secure and easier to scale.

Like most major platform transitions in the enterprise, the rate at which this transition will occur is likely to be measured in years. Most organizations will continue to run monolithic applications well past the middle of this decade. However, in terms of where future advances in IT will be focused, it’s apparent that Kubernetes and other associated open source projects will be the dominant platforms for driving innovation throughout at least the first half of the current decade.

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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