Why Apcera, Container Solutions, Deis, RX-M LLC and Univa Corporation Joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

By April 2, 2016 January 15th, 2018 Blog

We had a chance to catch up with some of our member companies ahead of several important industry events; including Container Summit, Goto; Stockholm,CoreOS Fest, OSCON, and GlueCon. We learned what their plans are for the shows over the next few weeks, why they joined CNCF and how they see CNCF furthering the adoption of cloud native architectures.

Here’s what Apcera Founder and CEO, Derek Collison; Container Solutions CEO, Jamie Dobson; Deis CEO, Beau Vrolyk; RX-M LLC Managing Partner,Randy Abernethy; and Univa Corporation VP Market Development, Rob Lalonde, had to say.

 Val Bercovici, CTO at SolidFire, introduced CNCF at Openstack Summit

Figure 1: Val Bercovici, CTO at SolidFire, introduced CNCF at Openstack Summit

1. How do you see the CNCF furthering adoption of cloud native?

Collison, APCERA: The world and enterprise IT are moving quickly toward an entirely cloud native, hardware-agnostic compute fabric. I see three main buckets of technologies in this new landscape: infrastructure provisioning, artifact to workload and workload orchestration, and deployment. The job of CNCF is to further cloud native projects, as well as to provide education, insight and best practices as to how to use technologies to drive business value.

Dobson, Container Solutions: There’s many large end-users who not only don’t know what Apache Mesos or Kubernetes are, but who have probably not even heard of containers. I expect the CNCF to connect to these users through the grassroots of the community. Additionally, developer tools for cloud native are currently either missing or are very poor. We developed minimesos because we needed a local experimentation and testing tool. Minimesos can be downloaded and played with in just a few seconds. More importantly, it allows developers to build cloud-native applications of considerable complexity which, once the developer is happy, can then be moved to an Apache Mesos cluster in a production environment. We do hope the CNCF will throw its weight behind a number of initiatives that will make it much easier for developers to get started with cloud-native development and the cloud-native SDLC.

Vrolyk, Deis: CNCF will advance the adoption of cloud native architectures through education, reference designs and examples, and by providing a clearing house for the discussion of vendor-neutral solutions for implementing cloud-native applications.

Abernethy, RX-M LLC: CNCF will become a nexus for rapid evolution and refinement of many common cloud-native system aspects. The foundation will help with evangelization, unification and centralization of critical platform components and idioms that will have a dramatic impact on architects and developers. Today vendors and open source projects create a great many orthogonal products that perform overlapping, occasionally identical, functions for cloud native systems. The CNCF will not pick winners, rather it will make it possible for a rich set of solutions from multiple vendors to share a common language and to interoperate. This will greatly alleviate much of the confusion and product ambiguity facing aspiring cloud nativists today. It will also go a long way toward reducing or eliminating vendor lock-in and wheel reinvention.

Lalonde, Univa Corporation: Being an open, independent and broadly governed body, the CNCF is in a great position to further the adoption of cloud native architectures. By bringing to the table best of breed, open technologies and standards, customers will be the beneficiaries of an effective solution that maximizes capabilities and interoperability, while minimizing vendor lock-in.

2. How do you see CNCF working with Cloud Foundry, OCI and other cloud and container initiatives?

Collison, APCERA:  I believe defacto standards and technologies that have been adopted early on will need to be included and will need to work well together moving forward. Having these organizations all work together benefits customers and furthers the ecosystem. For instance, if the Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) adopts the new Open Container Initiative (OCI) image format, then it could be possible to have workloads created by the technologies in the CFF deployed through Kubernetes, running in an OCI-compliant runtime and image format, and possibly connect to services through the CFF again. This ecosystem needs specialization and standardization of interfaces at the same time to form comprehensive solutions.

Vrolyk, Deis: CNCF will seek out and integrate the best open source solutions for each layer of the stack. This will include components of other open source stacks, as well as those which are a distillation of competing solutions, such as OCI.

Abernethy, RX-M LLC: Containers are a great way to package microservices; however, a microservice does not an application make. Some form of application-level abstraction is needed to practically use containers. CNCF will help define and refine consistent approaches to the key challenges one faces after OCI. So with OCI a given, the CNCF provides the standards and guidance needed to extract the full potential containers bring to the table. Process frameworks and platform solutions like Cloud Foundry also play an important role in many solutions. If CNCF does its job well, then it will fit neatly into the platform solutions used in common practice. This will require collaboration and cooperation across foundations and initiatives.

Lalonde, Univa Corporation: There are important linkages between CNCF, OCI and Cloud Foundry as they are all related and very interdependent technology layers. Together these three entities form a complete solution. We have already participated in discussions with the three groups, and we fully expect that this spirit of cooperation and collaboration will continue.

3. Why did you join CNCF?

Collison, APCERA:  Kubernetes and the other open source projects that will soon come under the CNCF umbrella are focused on interoperability. When you look at the magnitude of connectivity, communications, access rights, and identity that’s coming in Cloud Native platforms along with what is next with IoT, I think everyone is clear that we need to get out in front of it. We need to approach this in a collaborative, ecosystem-oriented way.

Dobson, Container Solutions: Container Solutions was already working with Ken Owens from Cisco, as well as supporting Docker and Mesosphere with our work. On the one hand we were pushing the boundaries with our work on projects like Mantl, and on the other we were educating the community. We saw joining the CNCF as a way to collaborate on moving the mission forward and to formalize our otherwise informal coalitions.

Vrolyk, Deis: Our entire company, Deis, is cloud native. We are completely committed to the success of cloud native architectures and technologies and entirely open source.

Abernethy, RX-M LLC: As a tech consultancy, RX-M has been inundated with cloud/container based work for a few years now. Our efforts would be far more productive and our clients would be completing solutions far more quickly with effective orchestration standards and common integration points. The OCI headed off a potential standards fracture that could have been a big pain point for our clients. We are huge fans of OCI and the folks driving it. That said, there is much still to do and the more abstract challenges facing the CNCF make its work more difficult; however, with enough energy and a little luck, the payoff will be commensurate. We want to help accelerate that payoff and ensure that our clients and our solutions are on the path that leads to standards and away from lock in.

Lalonde, Univa Corporation: Univa joined the CNCF as a founding member as we saw from the outset that the CNCF would be an industry leading and important organization. We also felt strongly that our experience orchestrating large enterprise clusters would add unique value and perspective to the community.

4. What advice would you give other companies looking to join CNCF?

Collison, APCERA: The core management of containers and clusters is a viable CNCF community effort that we all contribute to and can benefit from. And, this is just the beginning. The TOC is gathering candidates now for future inclusion into the CNCF. Open source initiatives and ecosystem collaboration are driving innovation across cloud native architectures to create a unified and shared body of best practices. If you want a front row seat, you should consider joining.

Dobson, Container Solutions: If companies believe in the mission of the CNCF, which “is to create and drive the adoption of a new computing paradigm that is optimized for modern distributed systems environments,” then they should look for the best ways to help further that mission.

Vrolyk, Deis: The CNCF is a collaborative organization focused on the best possible cloud native solutions, not one which anoints market winners. The success of CNCF is based upon the merits of its various technologies, their stability, and their proven performance. Companies joining CNCF should expect to contribute their best to the effort and help others with their contributions.

Lalonde, Univa Corporation: I think the more organizations that participate and contribute to the CNCF, the more successful the CNCF can be. Ultimately it will be end customers that reap the benefits of this broader experience and contributions from a diverse community. I encourage more companies to come to the table to participate. We can all benefit from each other’s experience to move this burgeoning industry forward.

5. What can people expect to see from your company at upcoming conferences in 2016?

Collison, APCERA: We will be at many events over the coming months; including Gartner IOM, DockerCon, Software Circus, Velocity New York City, Gartner Data Center and AWS Re:Invent.  At these shows, Apcera will be discussing the trust-first compute fabric for workload security, audit and compliance as well as policy and security controls for container-based workloads. We will have engineers and executives speaking on CNCF contributions, Kubernetes, NATS, Libretto, Kurma and OSS.

Dobson, Container Solutions: I will be at Container Summit in Las Vegas May 3rd where myself and my counterparts from Joyent (Casey Bisson) and Cisco (Ken Owens) will be talking about our latest contributions to cloud-native tooling. I won’t give away the details as not to spoil the surprise, but it will be a significant step forward.

At Goto; Stockholm I’ll be keynoting about strategies for cloud-native adoption. I’ll talk about the need for both informal and formal coalitions. I’ll also focusing on how emergent strategies can be blocked by poor tooling and management, as well as what we can do about that. Goto; Stockhom is about as cloud-native as it gets and I am looking forward to: Adrian Mouat from Container Solutions teaching microservice security; Ken Sipe from Mesosphere teaching Apache Mesos Frameworks; Mandy Waite teaching Kubernetes; Fred George teaching microservice;, and Seth Vargo from HashiCorp will be teaching Terraform.

Finally, at the end of summer our own conference, Software Circus, will be going big on cloud-native. None of us can wait for that. Watch this space.

Vrolyk, Deis: Deis will continue to exhibit Deis Workflow, the leading platform that supports containers running in production; Deis Helm, the package manager for Kubernetes workloads; and a stream of other Deis components that support production deployments. We are excited to attend CoreOS Fest, various regional DevOpsDays and ContainerDays, as well as GlueCon, ContainerCon and AutomaCon. Deis will also continue to sponsor and send speakers to many local meetup groups relevant to Cloud Native Computing like Kubernetes meetups, Microservices meetups and DevOps meetups.

Abernethy, RX-M LLC: As the cloud native systems and the CNCF projects develop, we will be working with other CNCF members to produce a range of educational presentations and workshops. Our hope is that these things will help users attending cloud/container events more deeply understand the nature and evolution of the cloud native space, particularly as it relates to the CNCF.

Lalonde, Univa Corporation: At OSCON, Univa will be formally announcing Navops (www.navops.io), a comprehensive product suite enabling companies to deploy a container-ready enterprise in minutes and implement workload placement and advanced policy management. We’re excited to share our technology and collaborate with other CNCF members to further bring cutting- edge technologies to the community. Univa has its roots in workload management and scheduling within the HPC market and we are now translating that experience to help companies build and run containers at scale. We’d love to chat with people at the show and share our demo. Come see us at Booth 224.

In part two of our member Q&A series, hear what AppFormix, Cisco, Twistlock and Weaveworks had to say.