Considering Cloud Foundry for a multi-cloud approach

The cloud is certainly here to stay. And why wouldn’t it be? With the much lower-cost solutions and ease of scalability, cloud companies are growing at an unstoppable rate. The question is, why do you have to choose just one service when you can instead select a multi-cloud approach?

Why choose the multi-cloud approach?

VMware

Amazon Web Services is still dominating the cloud market, but some are starting to question how long this command will last. In fact, some businesses are starting to switch to using multiple clouds.

Many enterprises are eager to avoid a lock-in with one particular provider and instead would prefer to work in multi-cloud environments. Another pertinent reason to use multiple platforms is to minimize risk. If there is a localized component failure in a cloud-computing environment, such as in the hardware, software, or infrastructure, users can feel safer against widespread data loss.

As some may remember, outages of large cloud companies have actually taken place in the past, leading to the justified fear. According to TechTarget, “On August 7, 2011, Amazon experienced an outage … apparently caused by an electrical transformer malfunction.” The second-largest cloud service provider, Azure, was also affected by an outage in 2012.

Another persuasive reason to switch to a multi-cloud approach is not all cloud providers are created equal. Some have services that others don’t offer, and every clients’ needs are different when it comes to how much data they want stored and how fast they need the data transfers to be. And each cloud-computing provider offers different pricing structures and tiers.

Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry is an open-source Platform as a Service (PaaS) that has partnered with numerous cloud providers and is dedicated to opening the door for users to utilize the multi-cloud approach. The independent not-for-profit company says its goal is to provide its clients “with a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services.”  Cloud Foundry was originally a part of VMware, which developed the Cloud Foundry software.

In September, Cloud Foundry held a summit in Frankfurt, Germany, attended by more than 600 developers and operators. At the summit, according to ComputerWorld UK, Cloud Foundry CEO Sam Ramji explained, “We see a world of cloud computing that is ubiquitous and flexible, that supports multi-cloud environments.” He went on to say, “It is portable and interoperable, enabling users to go where they want. This is actually a revolutionary concept in cloud computing, that the user should have control over their applications as they come and go.”

In Computer World UK’s article, Volkswagen was named as one of the companies that is embracing Cloud Foundry. Roy Sauer, Volkswagen’s head of Group IT Architecture and Technology, told the magazine, “The reason we chose Cloud Foundry is that we have a chance for a multi-cloud environment.” Sauer said the plan means Volkswagen will have its own datacenters “for critical data” while using Cloud Foundry for other data, “because we have to have this global footprint.” Volkswagen will also have the freedom “to swap from one public provider to another if it’s necessary.”

This gives one of the many clear examples of why an organization would want to switch to a multi-cloud approach. Cloud Foundry has become popular in the industry because of its commitment to be transparent and open-source while remaining reliable technology.

During Ramji’s speech, he placed Cloud Foundry’s growth stats at 31,000 code commits, 2,500 contributors, and 130 core committers. He believes the company will continue to expand because of the freedom of choice for its users, even though he acknowledged that “one commercial vendor, Dell-EMC-owned Pivotal — which created an open-source foundation for Cloud Foundry — is so clearly dominant.”

The solution to this, according to Ramji, it to continue encouraging growth and code committers and see the change take effect as more people flock to their open-source, multi-cloud company. The only way that users can have the choice they have been lacking is by growing this community, Ramji believes.

What can Cloud Foundry do for you?

So, now that you understand both the benefits of multi-cloud computing and what Cloud Foundry is, what exactly can you do with it?

Cloud Foundry’s website specifically lists a number of different features, such as:

  • Routes incoming traffic to the appropriate component, usually the Cloud Controller or a running application on a DEA node
  • The OAuth2 server and Login Server work together to provide identity management
  • The Cloud Controller is responsible for managing the lifecycle of applications
  • HM9000 monitors, determines and reconciles applications to determine their state, version, and number instances, and directs Cloud Controller to take action to correct any discrepancies
  • The Droplet Execution Agent manages application instances, tracks started instances, and broadcasts state messages
  • The blob store holds application code, buildpacks, and droplets
  • When a developer provisions and binds a service to an application, the service broker for that service is responsible for providing the service instance
  • Cloud Foundry uses NATS, a lightweight publish-subscribe and distributed queuing messaging system for internal communication between components
  • The metrics collector gathers metrics from the components. Operators can use this information to monitor an instance of Cloud Foundry

If you’re interested in using Cloud Foundry as your source of the multi-cloud approach, they have set up a certification program that ensures that “your experience working with Cloud Foundry is consistent across providers, as an application developer or operations professional.” From what we’ve seen, as the community continues to grow, Cloud Foundry could be a great option when switching to the multi-cloud approach.

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