A few thoughts on why a strong market requirement will push Cloud Foundry onto Kubernetes. First thing to note, Cloud Foundry (CF) is a leading if not the leading PaaS offering on the market. Also note, CF is not built using Kubernetes, it uses its own container system. And while this container system is compatible with running the open ‘Docker-Style’ images, CF is designed to alleviate both the developer and the operator from needing to worry about things at the container level.
As CF is well conceived PaaS, developers code their applications, then they tell CF they want to ‘push’ it into production. Then CF basically handles everything from there. Simple, reliable, and rock solid. Developers code, the PaaS manages the rest. So, knowing this workflow and the related reliability of CF to be true, why does the conversation around Kubernetes keep coming up? The answer really isn’t one steeped in technology, it seems to have more to do with market expectations.
In a recent conversation with a market leading application vendor that uses CF, the issue of Kubernetes came up. A simple question was put to them, “Why do you care about Kubernetes as CF handles everything your applications care about?”. Essentially, the role that Kubernetes plays in the solution is abstracted from the users, operators, and the LOB developers. The answer was simple, but not really technical. It was that IT shops have an investment in Kubernetes and they would like to have the CF platform (the application services provided by the platform) leverage the investment. They weren’t actually asking for a CF solution to use Kubernetes so they could do things that weren’t available in CF, they just wanted CF to use Kubernetes. And in the end, this is really enough.
In my opinion, this is enough to look for an answer.
In my role at SUSE, I have had numerous conversations on this topic and results have strongly shaped my/our opinions. That is why we are working in the CF foundation and on our own upcoming offerings to expand the role of Kubernetes in this space. From our point of view, and soon to be backed by SUSE products, Kubernetes will provide a good base for the full set of CF services.
Stay tuned — providing the solid CF experience over an existing Kubernetes implementation should be something you may see in the not too distant future.