The Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) launched a beta of the open source Korifi platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment for Kubernetes that is based mainly on code contributed by VMware.
Ram Iyengar, developer advocate for the CFF, says Korifi paves the way for other organizations to contribute to the open source PaaS environment. Korifi abstracts away much of the underlying complexity that conspires to limit adoption of Kubernetes among developers working mainly for enterprise IT organizations.
VMware has already been providing a PaaS for several months as part of its Tanzu platform. Previously, the CFF created a namesake PaaS for virtual machines that it has been migrating to Kubernetes clusters for more than a year. The Korifi project incorporates a wider range of cloud-native technologies being advanced by other consortiums and that is also compatible with existing Cloud Foundry applications.
To achieve that goal, the CFF has created an experimental implementation of the Cloud Foundry V3 application programming interface (API) that natively integrates with custom resource definitions (CRDs) used widely in Kubernetes environments.
It’s still early days as far as migration of existing Cloud Foundry applications to Kubernetes is concerned, but there is a concerted effort to provide IT teams with a framework that makes building and deploying applications on Kubernetes clusters simpler. Cloud Foundry has long claimed that its PaaS increases developer productivity, but the challenge is that the number of virtual machines required to deploy it limits adoption to large enterprises. In most cases, the Cloud Foundry PaaS was consumed as a managed on-premises service provided by either a third-party IT services provider or a cloud service provider. Kubernetes presents an opportunity to reduce the overhead historically associated with deploying the Cloud Foundry PaaS.
The CFF—along with other rival providers of PaaS environments—is making a case for a higher level of abstraction that eliminates the need to manipulate large numbers of YAML files. Many developers today are still reluctant to deploy applications on Kubernetes clusters because the primitives that need to be mastered are still too low-level, at least when compared to other application development frameworks. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a sister consortium of the CFF that also operates as an arm of the Linux Foundation, estimates there are 7.1 million cloud-native developers worldwide. In contrast, there are somewhere between 40 to 50 million developers building applications using a variety of other frameworks and platforms.
It’s not clear whether full-stack developers that build, deploy and manage applications on their own will become the norm, but every minute a developer spends managing infrastructure is, theoretically, one less minute they can spend writing application logic. As a consequence, there are plenty of organizations that prefer to rely on IT operations teams to manage infrastructure rather than trying to find and retain scarce full-stack developers. The issue now is to what degree those organizations might be comfortable relying on an opinionated PaaS environment versus opting to build and maintain some equivalent themselves.