Cloud Native Computing Foundation unveils new members and projects as container market booms

The Cloud Native Cloud Foundation (CNCF) unveiled new additions to its member programme at its user conference in Berlin this week, as well as adding new technologies — containerd and rkt — to its growing portfolio of open source projects.

The not-for-profit organisation, which operates as part of the Linux Foundation, was set up little more than a year ago to focus on the development of open source tools relating to the fast growing area of 'cloud-ready' applications. These are typically built around microservice architectures and make use of tools such as containers to make software development and deployment faster and simpler.

It is an area which has been popular with startups creating new, greenfield applications. Larger enterprise firms are also taking the approach, predominantly for new software developments, but increasingly for older apps too, which are being refactored to run easily in the cloud.

Unsurprisingly, there are many tech vendors attracted to the fast growing market. A recent report from 451 Research estimated that the application container market alone was worth $762 million in 2016, and is set to reach $2.7 billion in 2020. With a CAGR of 40 percent, 451 says that it is now tracking 125 vendors operating in the container space.

CNCF has seen a range of tech firms join its project since launching, with Cisco, CoreOS, Docker, Fujitsu, and Google on the governing board. At CloudNativeCon + KubeCon Europe, Dell Technologies was announced as the latest vendor to join CNCF as a platinum member.

"They are making major investments in cloud storage, with their REXRay storage project," said CNCF executive director, Dan Kohn. SUSE also joins as a gold member, while there were four new silver members: Solinea, HarmonyCloud, QAware and TenxCloud. There are now 81 members in total.

New partnerships

Kohn revealed that Docker's core container runtime, containerd, will be supported as an incubating project by CNCF. Docker had announced that the project would be contributed to a "neutral" foundation earlier this year. It is the latest in a number of systems open sourced by Docker, beginning with libcontainer in 2014.

"It is a really natural partnership with Kubernetes, gRPC, Prometheus and our other projects," said Kohn.

CoreOS' rkt container engine was also accepted to the foundation. Introduced in 2014, rkt now has 178 contributors, over 5,000 commits and 59 releases.

"With Containerd and Rocket it is clear the CNCF is really the focal point for containerisation, and we are incredibly excited to have that market leadership and now be able to dedicate a huge amount of resources and hopefully help accelerate the development of those projects," Kohn said.

The new additions join monitoring tool Prometheus, OpenTracing, and logging system Fluentd, as well as container orchestration platform Kubernetes, originally developed at Google.

Kubernetes 1.6

The latest version of Kubernetes was announced ahead of CNCF's event, with a range of new features including support for 5,000-node clusters. Kubernetes federation also enables users to scale beyond this level or spread across multiple regions or cloud, combining multiple clusters.

"The theme for this release is multi-teams, multi-workloads at scale. It is a result of 5,000 commits, 275 authors from everywhere around the world," said Aparna Sinha, Kubernetes senior product manager at Google.

There were also additions around role-based access control to address security concerns and dynamic storage provisioning.

Sinha highlighted the core role that Kubernetes has been playing in popularising containers and cloud-native technologies more generally through an open source approach. "[Kubernetes] is attempting to redefine how the world runs applications on distributed systems and we believe that this is only possible through an open and transparent and diverse community of users and contributors."


It is clear that more and more organisations are adopting containers, and even moving on from development and test to production uses. A 451 Research survey from May 2016 showed that of the 25 percent of organisations polled which are using containers, 34 percent were in "broad implementation" of production applications, and 28 percent had begun initial implementation in production.

It is still early days for CNCF, and there are some questions around the maturity of container technologies among more traditional enterprises, but it along with a range of related open source foundations such as Cloud Foundry, OpenStack and the Open Container Initiative is helping to develop the technology to achieve the growth predicted.

CNCF's Dan Kohn highlighted the growth of its European event, with 1,500 attendees in Berlin — a significant increase on the 500 attendees at the KubeCon event in London last year. "This is testament to the excitement around Kubernetes and cloud-native in general," he said.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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