Cloud Foundry Updates PaaS Environment

During a Cloud Foundry Virtual Summit, the Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) today announced that the instance of its open source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment that runs natively on Kubernetes has been updated to make it simpler to deploy complementary tools and platforms, such as the open source Istio service mesh.

Version 5 of cf-for-k8s now supports version 0.3.1 of kpack, a declarative tool for configuring builds in Kubernetes environments, that can now be employed to deploy version 1.9.5 of Istio running on instances of clusters running version 1.18 through 1.20 of Kubernetes. The CFF has also tightened integration with Paketo buildpacks, a tool for converting application source code into container images.

Chip Childers, executive director for the CFF, says the goal is to make it simpler to deploy and update the PaaS environment in a Kubernetes environment that includes a range of open source software. Istio, for example, is notoriously challenging to upgrade otherwise, says Childers.

Specifically, the CFF is committed to making sure CF API entities have an analogous representation in the Kubernetes API, and CF on K8s should eventually allow users to manipulate either representation. CF workloads and other K8s-based workloads should be able to coexist and interact on the same cluster. The CFF wants to retain the CF developer experience and developer-facing API while implementing a new set of operator-facing interfaces.

Childers also notes the CFF is committed to providing more transparency into how the PaaS environment is being advanced. VMware is taking the lead on the development of a revamped CFF technical governance structure. The CFF also revealed today that Lee Porte, chairperson for GOV.UK, will become chairperson of a newly created technical oversight committee (TOC) for Cloud Foundry. He will also hold a seat on the governing board for the CFF. This marks the first time an end user of the Cloud Foundry PaaS has been made a member of that body. The TOC replaces the current project management committee (PMC). The TOC members were elected by the project’s technical community, following a nomination phase that was open to any member of the community who had contributed to the project. The four other members of the TOC come from SAP and VMware.

While the CFF continues to support KubeCF, which enables Kubernetes to be deployed on top of an existing instance of the Cloud Foundry PaaS, it’s apparent most organizations will embrace a cf-for-k8s approach that significantly reduces the amount of infrastructure consumed by the Cloud Foundry PaaS.

Childers says the CFF is committed to automating as many of the operational processes involved in deploying Kubernetes as possible as part of an effort to make the platform more accessible to developers. After an initial rush of enthusiasm for Kubernetes that Childers refers to as a “red herring” event, he says it’s become apparent that many developers are finding Kubernetes to be a daunting platform on which to build and deploy applications. That creates the need for a higher level of abstraction that, in addition to providing developers with tools that make it easier to scale agile development processes, also reduces the overall management overhead associated with managing a Kubernetes environment.

It’s not clear to what degree a revamped Cloud Foundry PaaS will be able to usurp other application development platforms being advanced by a host of rivals. However, as far as adoption of those platforms is concerned, in enterprise IT environments it’s still early days. The challenge the CFF now faces is overcoming some of the widely-held complexity perceptions that attached themselves to the previous edition of its platform.

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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