Cloud Foundry Provides an Open Source Vision for Enterprise Software Development

From April 18-20, Amalgam Insights attended Cloud Foundry Summit 2018 in our hometown of Boston, MA. Both Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli and Founder Hyoun Park attended as we explored the current positioning of Cloud Foundry as an application development platform in light of the ever-changing world of technology. The timing of Cloud Foundry Summit this year coincided with Pivotal’s IPO, which made this Summit especially interesting. Through our attendance of keynote sessions, panels, and the analyst program, we took away several key lessons.

First, the conflict between Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes is disappearing as each solution has found its rightful place in the DevOps world. My colleague Tom Petrocelli goes into more detail in explaining how the perceived conflict between Cloud Foundry’s initial containerization efforts and Kubernetes is not justified. This summit made very clear that Cloud Foundry is a very practical solution focused on supporting enterprise-grade applications that abstracts both infrastructure and scale. Amalgam takes the stance that this conflict in software abstraction should never have been there in the first place. Practitioners have been creating an artificial conflict that the technology solutions are seeking to clarify and ameliorate.

At the event, Cloud Foundry also announced heavy-hitting partners. Alibaba Cloud is now a Gold member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation. With this announcement, Cloud Foundry goes to China and joins the fastest growing cloud in the world. This announcement mirrors Red Hat’s announcement of Alibaba becoming an Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider last October and leads to an interesting showdown in China as developers choose between Cloud Foundry and OpenStack to build China’s future of software.

In addition, Cloud Foundry Foundation announced Cloud.gov as the 8th certified provider of Cloud Foundry. This step forward will allow federal agencies to use a certified and FedRAMP Authorized Cloud Foundry platform. The importance of this announcement was emphasized in an Air Force-led session on Project Kessel Run, which is focused on agile software for the Air Force. This session showed how how Cloud Foundry accelerated the ability to execute in an environment where the average project took over 8 years to complete due to challenges such as the need to ask for Congressional approval on a yearly basis. By using Cloud Foundry, the Air Force has identified opportunities to build applications in a couple of months and get these tools directly to soldiers to create culture that is #AgileAF (which obviously stands for “Agile Air Force”). The role of Cloud Foundry is accelerating one of the most challenging and governed application development environments in the world accentuated the value of Cloud Foundry in effectively enabling the vaunted goal of digital transformation.

From a technical perspective, the announcement that really grabbed our attention was the demonstration of cfdev in providing a full Cloud Foundry development experience on a local laptop or workstation on native hypervisors. This will make adoption far easier for developers seeking to quickly develop and debut applications as well as to help developers build test and sandbox environments for Cloud Foundry.

Overall, this event demonstrated the evolution of Cloud Foundry. The themes of Cloud Foundry as both a government enabler and the move to China were front and center throughout this event. Combined with the Pivotal IPO and Cloud Foundry’s ability to work with Kubernetes, it is hard to deny Cloud Foundry’s progress as an enterprise and global solution for application development acceleration and in working as a partner with other appropriate technologies.

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