Cloud Foundry Kubernetes integration hits snags

Maria J. Danford

The Cloud Foundry community’s plan to generate a unified developer expertise between its PaaS framework and Kubernetes hasn’t come collectively the way some stakeholders envisioned.

Two principal projects that unify Cloud Foundry’s VM-concentrated developer interface with a Kubernetes container infrastructure have been in progress more than the past yr — KubeCF, supposed as a initial stage towards this integration, and cf-for-k8s, a additional Kubernetes-indigenous method for the extended term.

Some Cloud Foundry maintainers had hoped that cf-for-k8s would start to choose the guide on convergence between the two projects by this yr, but as the community’s digital summit convened this month, that wasn’t the case. The two stay different, and cf-for-k8s has witnessed only incremental adoption, typically amid little progress teams and greenfield companies so much, according to Cloud Foundry Basis officers.

“I am mildly upset in the way the group has not accelerated by the convergence procedure,” claimed Chip Childers, government director of the Cloud Foundry Basis. “It need to have occurred quicker.”

Bringing the two platforms collectively is essential to present buyers of Cloud Foundry, especially underneath VMware’s former Pivotal portfolio. Kubernetes appeals to these buyers simply because it can additional easily accommodate business and stateful applications than Cloud Foundry’s additional prescriptive platform. VMware’s products centered on cf-for-k8s, the Tanzu Software Company (TAS) for Kubernetes, is in beta.

“We have been experimenting and looking into using [Kubernetes] to give our legacy apps and databases some of the rewards that the modern day applications on TAS have,” claimed Kerry Schaffer, senior director of facts technologies at OneMagnify, a advertising and promotion company in Detroit that is a longtime person of the Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform. “With [Kubernetes], legacy apps can be containerized, so updates and patching can be done in the course of enterprise several hours.” 

Larry Carvalho, Robust CloudLarry Carvalho

While Kubernetes has some charm, Schaffer claimed she’d favor to have centralized administration within just Cloud Foundry alternatively than offer with two different platforms.

At this point, Cloud Foundry is not likely to seize additional web-new buyers of cloud-indigenous infrastructure platforms than pure Kubernetes, but it’s important that present Cloud Foundry buyers have a route towards Kubernetes that maintains backward compatibility, claimed Larry Carvalho, an impartial cloud computing expert.

“VMware has to be pretty mindful, simply because they want to get Tanzu accepted,” Carvalho claimed. “If they will not get Cloud Foundry fully on Kubernetes, Tanzu starts getting a bad rap.”

Cloud Foundry integration projects stay different

In the past yr, KubeCF has fixed most of the difficulties developers encountered as they labored to replicate the “cf-force” developer expertise by way of Cloud Foundry’s BOSH orchestration instrument on a Kubernetes back stop. IBM is using KubeCF to migrate its Cloud Foundry general public cloud services to a Kubernetes infrastructure.

The additional sophisticated job, cf-for-k8s, gets rid of BOSH solely and introduces Kpacks, Kubernetes-indigenous updates to Cloud Foundry’s historical infrastructure builder instruments, called Buildpacks. The job has made quickly since its edition .1. introduction in April 2020 — as of June, cf-for-k8s had reached edition 5., with support for Kubernetes variations 1.18 to 1.20 and Istio edition 1.9.

But known difficulties stay. Kpacks stay at edition .three.1. Version 5. is regarded a breaking change to cf-for-k8s, and edition 5.1., released this month, supports Istio services mesh edition 1.10 and Kubernetes 1.21, but maintainers famous Istio does not support soar updates — buyers ought to migrate initial to edition 5. ahead of they can use edition 5.1.

Additionally, group discussions this yr have explored, but not fully fixed, several substantial-level architectural dilemmas that come up from attempting to merge two platforms that were intended all around two fundamentally diverse sorts of infrastructure in VMs and containers.

A “Vision for cf-for-k8s” doc, past updated in May well, summarizes the elementary trouble struggling with the Cloud Foundry group as it vies to maintain up with Kubernetes.

“Other open-resource ecosystems these as Kubernetes have been developing their personal methods to the area places of Cloud Foundry, in several situations shifting a great deal quicker and with a even bigger group,” the doc states. “Projects or systems from individuals communities substantially overlap with the features of Cloud Foundry, from workload scheduling and execution to ingress routing and direct connectivity for workloads to identification and authorization companies.”

Some Cloud Foundry group customers claimed this month that they now have doubts about the extended-term viability of the cf-for-k8s job.

“Frankly, I think about cf-for-k8s in a questionable point out at the instant,” claimed Simon Moser, guide architect for IBM Cloud Serverless and PaaS, in an job interview. “While it has a additional Kubernetes-indigenous codebase, it is not backward compatible, so it may well be good for new greenfield deployments, but unfortunately not for deployment evolutions.”

Yet another thorny challenge for cf-for-k8s, according to the Vision doc, is balancing the desires of buyers that favor Cloud Foundry’s tightly integrated, extremely abstracted platform, and individuals that want to be able to access and customize the Kubernetes process underneath.

The tendency for Kubernetes deployments to consist of several clusters is also a elementary variance between it and Cloud Foundry, and linking several clusters by way of Istio within just cf-for-k8s provides yet another tricky established of challenges.

“Istio’s alternatively intricate, and provided that half the cf-for-k8s YAML was Istio config, I’d be intrigued to see if less difficult methods could be identified,” wrote a single contributor in a comment on the Vision doc in April (emphasis in the initial).

Cloud Foundry group fades as IBM pulls back

Cloud Foundry Basis annual studies exhibit that though the Kubernetes group is now outpacing Cloud Foundry, contributions and income for Cloud Foundry are also in drop.

In 2019, 45,754 code commits were built to Cloud Foundry by 763 exclusive authors in 498 diverse repositories, and the Foundation’s all round income was additional than $5.three million. In 2020, 40,403 commits were built by 576 exclusive authors to 497 diverse repositories, and all round income was $three.ninety eight million.

Cloud Foundry’s annual Summit had now shrunk noticeably in attendance in the course of its past in-particular person event in 2019, and as with several companies, place on additional modest digital occasions in 2020 and 2021. Having said that, between 2020 and 2021, the list of the conference’s vendor sponsors shrank from 7 to five, and most notably, IBM went from a perennial platinum sponsor to gold this yr.

In addition to swapping in a Kubernetes back stop for Cloud Foundry in the IBM Cloud, the organization is also using KubeCF to migrate Cloud Foundry buyers to Crimson Hat OpenShift.

“IBM will support KubeCF for the foreseeable foreseeable future for the general public cloud,” Moser claimed. “For the on-prem area, IBM won’t genuinely have a Cloud Foundry remedy anymore, other than the Cloud Foundry Migration Runtime …The method there is clearly to transfer men and women from Cloud Foundry to OpenShift.”

Chip Childers, Cloud Foundry FoundationChip Childers

Childers acknowledged that the group has shifted from development method to a target on preserving extended-term sustainability.

“Cloud Foundry for VMs is experienced software program, and not a little something that [vendor] companies will devote in closely for advertising functions,” he claimed.

The Cloud Foundry Basis has also overhauled its governance structure this yr to mirror this, shifting from a Complex Oversight Committee dominated by prime vendor entrepreneurs of the platform to a single that involves additional stop buyers.

While contributions to the Cloud Foundry codebase have declined in quantity, they have commenced to come from additional various sources — about 75% of contributions employed to come from Pivotal, now element of VMware, but VMware contributions now make up a lot less than fifty% of the whole, Childers claimed.

“This is a normal element of the lifecycle,” he claimed. “The Basis has been established up more than the past twelve months to target on balance.”

All eyes on VMware Tanzu Kubernetes integration

While IBM has concentrated on KubeCF, VMware staff members have been by much the guide resource of contributions to cf-for-k8s, according to GitHub records.

Having said that, even though VMware’s TAS for Kubernetes was declared in May well 2020, it stays at the beta stage and its past release, edition .7., came in January. In the meantime, VMware staff members are also contributing to a newer experimental job, Cloud Foundry Custom made Assets, which is “checking out how the V3 Cloud Foundry APIs may well be backed by Kubernetes Custom made Assets rather of [Cloud Controller Databases] CCDB,” according to GitHub documentation.

To IBM’s Moser, this job just isn’t a good indication for cf-for-k8s.

I am concluding that they are still hunting for a winner, and though a yr ago I would have claimed CF-for-k8s is that winner, I would not make that statement now.
Simon MoserGuide architect for IBM Cloud Serverless and PaaS

“I am concluding that they are still hunting for a winner, and though a yr ago I would have claimed cf-for-k8s is that winner, I would not make that statement now,” he claimed.

A VMware spokesperson failed to say which job the firm’s engineers will prioritize extended term.

“VMware proceeds to guide discussions in the Cloud Foundry ecosystem to provide the confirmed Cloud Foundry developer expertise to the planet of Kubernetes,” the spokesperson claimed in an e mail. “We have been collaborating with the open resource group, together with Cloud Foundry customers these as SAP and IBM, on refining the eyesight for Cloud Foundry on Kubernetes and driving out the technological architecture to know it.”

VMware also declined to estimate a normal availability time frame for TAS for Kubernetes.

“No question present clients are interested in Cloud Foundry on Kubernetes, but for new clients it’s a red flag if you will not target on indigenous Kubernetes,” Carvalho claimed. “I would be working on migration instruments [away from Cloud Foundry] if I were [at VMware] … I will not see a good route for preserving both [platforms] for far too extended.”

Beth Pariseau, senior information writer at TechTarget, is an award-winning veteran of IT journalism. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @PariseauTT.

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