Enterprise Linux distributor SUSE has bundled the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service software with the Kubernetes container orchestration engine, with the aim of providing an integrated package of open source software to help enterprises to a cloud-native architecture.
“We want to bring advanced productivity of Cloud Foundry to a modern infrastructure represented by Kubernetes,” said Jennifer Kotzen, SUSE senior product marketing manager. “We’re pulling these two platforms together. We’re not just putting them in a box together, but we are integrating them in a way that allows people to get the best of both worlds.”
Enterprises have been investigating both Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry, and have found that “neither one covers the full gamut of what they need,” Kotzen said. As a PaaS, Cloud Foundry is easy to use but limited. Putting all apps on Kubernetes may take considerable amounts of expertise, though. The idea with this package is to provide an environment where coders can develop apps quickly while IT operations can remain flexible as possible.
This week, the Cloud Foundry Foundation has designated the Cloud Foundry component as a Certified Cloud Foundry distribution, ensuring workload compatibility with other certified versions of the PaaS software, of which there are now eight.
Of these eight certified releases, six are managed services, Kotzen noted. Until this release, only Pivotal offers a fully supported commercial “pure-play” version of the software that can be run on in-house servers (of course, as open source it is freely available to download, though the user must take charge of the maintenance and upkeep). The SUSE distribution now offers some choice in the marketplace, Kotzen noted.
“This new option in the market makes Cloud Foundry much more accessible to a whole range of new users for whom the barriers of entry were previously prohibitive,” Kotzen said.
This is also the first certified version of Cloud Foundry to be distributed on containers — Pivotal uses virtual machines. This approach minimizes the footprint that Cloud Foundry takes up on servers, added Ron Nunan, SUSE senior product manager. This also allows the Cloud Foundry deployment to be managed by Kubernetes, which could be used to scale Cloud Foundry more easily and bring greater stability to the runtime.
Another benefit of this distribution is that, unlike most Kubernetes deployments, this one does not require the Bosh, a deployment management tool often used for setting up Kubernetes. “The fact that [customers] don’t need a second large complex steep-learning-curve hard-to-manage platform is good news,” she said, referring to Bosh.
For this platform, SUSE itself turns Bosh releases, which hold the deployment metadata, into Kubernetes orchestration deployment models, so Kubernetes itself can execute them, Numan said.
To containerize Cloud Foundry, SUSE created Fissile, which turns Bosh releases into Docker images. The open source Fissile has also been used by IBM to containerize its version of Cloud Foundry, also announced this week.
SUSE’s Linux-based container-oriented MicroOS, provides the underlying operating system, while the containers are equipped with Suse Enterprise Linux. The company uses its own Kubernetes distribution for this package.
The Cloud Foundry work actually originated with the Active State “Stackato” release. HP acquired that company in 2005, and in 2017 sold its cloud software components to SUSE. “When we took over the technology and engineers, we rebuilt the control plane using standard Kubernetes environment,” Numan said.
SUSE first debuted the SUSE Cloud Application Platform in September, as a beta. This update, version 1.1 includes Kubernetes support and the containerized and the certified Cloud Foundry. The company announced this new edition at the Cloud Foundry Summit, held this week in Boston.