The Cloud Foundry Foundation has launched a certification program to ensure that customers can run their Cloud Foundry-based workloads across any certified provider without alteration.
The purpose of the certification, and accompanying standardization of the Cloud Foundry code base, is to ensure portability of Cloud Foundry-based workloads across multiple cloud services and other deployments, explained Sam Ramji, CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
CenturyLink’s AppFog, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Helion Cloud Foundry, Huawei, IBM Bluemix, Pivotal Could Foundry, SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform and Swisscom’s Application Cloud have all been certified by the Foundation, which oversees the codebase of the open source Cloud Foundry software.
“Users have been asking for Cloud Foundry to be a standard,” Ramji said. Large companies have been asking for the ability to reliably switch clouds, or to easily use multiple clouds. Standardization may also help boost the base of Cloud Foundry experts, given that more people will be contributing to the code. “Standards usually drive market growth, regardless of the effect of any given supplier,” Ramji said.
Cloud Foundry, available under an Apache 2.0 license, has already proven itself adept on running across multiple cloud providers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and various implementations of OpenStack.
The certification guarantees technical consistency and portability in these environments, Ramji said. The original crop of cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, have been making it very easy for customers to upload their applications into the cloud, though they haven provided scant resources for facilitating the movement of workloads across different cloud providers. This is the sweet spot Cloud Foundry is playing to.
Certification is based on the provider’s code being identical to the open source upstream release of Cloud Foundry. Certifications will be done against specific releases of the software. For providers, “you have to be shipping your release within a particular time window,” Ramji said. Products must be re-certified every year. The certification logo, which can be displayed only with compliant products, will be time-stamped for a particular release.
Both the APIs and the code itself will be part of the Cloud Foundry standard. The Foundation will continue to manage the software as a multi-contribution project, with both users and Cloud Foundry suppliers contributing code.
With users, “we pull their requirements in and get them to contribute their insights, and sometimes code, into the project,” Ramji said. With suppliers, “we make sure the open is open, that developers can get commit rights and participate. We hold the suppliers accountable for behaving in an open way.”
The nonprofit Cloud Foundry Foundation, founded in January, is collectively owned by 55 IT providers and other industry heavyweights, including IBM, SAP, Verizon, HPE, Intel, Pivotal, EMC, GE, Cisco and others.
The market for platform services will reach $4 billion this year, according to a prediction from IT analyst firm Gartner.
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