Digital Future

CNCF. The reason why going cloud native just got a little simpler. For all

Beyond cost optimization, beyond user experience, beyond agility, the cloud holds the tantalizing promise of digital business models and accelerated growth. Something that draws both ‘born in the cloud’ and large legacy enterprises alike.

They often begin their cloud adoption journey with global cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google. For migration, customer-facing landscapes, and even data analytics. In the process, they discover:

  • New market segments that might be serviced and directly benefit from a cloud presence; for instance, a new customer base or geography hitherto untargeted due to penetration challenges
  • Ways to deliver more value to customers by deeply understanding their needs and interests better, and pairing these needs with cloud advantages
  • Means to influence customer behavior with innovative and new cloud services

But being a lean, agile cloud-engaged enterprise sometimes feels like it’s easier said than done. Take the case of application development. While cloud frameworks provide high scalability and service resilience that work well for cloud-based application development, scaling them requires resource management capabilities. This means a user starts small and scales the application as usage increases. This is the key enabler for cloud adoption, and is the method Google and Twitter have adopted to build global scale operations for resource management solutions such as Kubernetes and Apache Mesos.

But no one seems to have it easy. Enterprises are challenged by their internal maturity levels to adopt new technologies, operating styles, technology induction processes, and compliance and governance requirements. The traditional enterprises are shackled by their legacy systems and massive scale, not to mention the lack of interoperability between systems.

That’s perfect timing for CNCF - Cloud Native Computing Foundation - to help smooth the way. By creating and driving the adoption of a new computing paradigm optimized for modern distributed systems environments capable of scaling to tens of thousands of self-healing multi-tenant nodes.

The objective of the CNCF is to bring together various projects in the cloud native space such as micro-services, containers, orchestration services, and beyond - under one governance umbrella. Making integration with existing IT landscapes seamless, and enabling wider and faster adoption of the cloud.

The solution stack offered by the CNCF is fairly comprehensive with container runtime (containerd, rkt), container orchestration & networking (Kubernetes, CNI), service development (linkerd, CoreDNS, gRPC) and management (Prometheus, OpenTracing, Fluentd). These are evolving rapidly in their ease of use, deployment, and upgrades. The solution stack of the CNCF has been especially designed to ease the transition of enterprises to the cloud.

And the benefits are varied and compelling. With major CSPs namely AWS, Azure, and Google being part of the CNCF, the process is on to collaboratively establish standards for cloud native technologies and introduce them on the CSPs’ platforms. By reducing the complexity of integration, these new cloud standards provide tremendous opportunity for enterprises to adopt cloud native technologies easily, and upgrade directly through their preferred cloud service provider.

Enterprises can confidently leverage these cloud technologies as all major cloud service providers are part of the open standards of CNCF, and expect a significant level of interoperability when the need for a hybrid cloud strategy emerges.

Cloud native technologies such as containers, orchestration, service mesh, and others are available as services from cloud providers in the pay-as-you-go model pioneered for IaaS. The enterprise can experiment with new business ideas to drive growth by building new applications in a cloud native manner, without upfront investment or complex setups. When the business idea has been validated and it is time for the enterprise to scale the new applications, it can do that at internet scale with literally no change at all as the applications have been built on cloud native technologies.

That’s why, I believe the partnership between CNCF and CSPs, will truly help amplify the potential of enterprises to do more with the best that cloud computing has to offer. And, it’s also my view that it’s a particularly great opportunity for large enterprises to capitalize and propel their growth in this dynamic environment.