Cloud Foundry Foundation Moves Closer to Kubernetes

The Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) is moving to bridge the divide between Kubernetes and its open source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment with the launch of two additional projects.

Eirini, proposed by IBM, is an incubation project that promises to enable DevOps teams to employ the underlying container scheduler used in Kubernetes within the Cloud Foundry Application Runtime, which enables applications developed using the Cloud Foundry PaaS to run on a Kubernetes cluster. That container scheduler replaces the Diego container scheduler that the CFF had developed for the Cloud Foundry PaaS on a Kubernetes cluster.

DevOps Experience

The CFF also has launched CF Containerization, which makes it possible to deploy instances of Cloud Foundry Application Runtime using BOSH deployment tools developed by the CFF on Kubernetes clusters. CF Containerization was developed by SUSE and then donated to the CFF as a means for presenting a manifest created using BOSH as a code that could be consumed by the HELM package manager software widely used in Kubernetes environments.

Finally, the CFF has committed to projects that focus on shared logging and metrics; unified networking via technologies such as the Istio service broker and Open Service Broker API (OSBAPI)-compliant service catalog synchronization. The CFF is also working more collaboratively with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which oversees the development of Kubernetes. Automated buildpack technology for runtimes originally popularized by the CFF and Heroku was accepted by the CNCF as an incubation project.

CFF CTO Chip Childers says he expects to see more cross-pollination between CFF and the CNCF community driving the development of Kubernetes. There are technologies such as the Diego container scheduling software that the CFF developed because there was no alternative available when CF was developed. As Kubernetes continues to mature, the CFF expects to increasingly leverage Kubernetes container technologies to enhance the application deployment capabilities of the CF PaaS environment, says Childers.

The CF PaaS presents one of the richest application development environments in use in the enterprise today. The challenge has always been provisioning and deploying a PaaS that requires 40 or more virtual machines to stand up. Some members of the CFF including IBM, SAP and SUSE view Kubernetes as being a more efficient cluster platform for deploying the CF PaaS. While the CFF has yet to build a common consensus on how that goal might be achieved, the community continues to work toward making it easier to deploy CF application runtimes on Kubernetes.

It may take a while for the CFF and the CNCF communities to fully resolve their differences. Pivotal and its sister company VMware are heavily committed to BOSH as means for deploying Kubernetes on top of VMware virtual machines as part of an offering known as Pivotal Container Service (PKS). Support for BOSH across the rest of the CFF community, however, is limited at best.

Kubernetes needs a much better application developer experience to ensure its success. There are a lot of options when it comes to developing applications on Kubernetes today. But few of them are quite as elegant as a CF environment that has now been under development since 2011.

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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