Now that we’ve been back in the office for a few weeks, talking with clients about their initiatives and challenges I have had some time to noodle over the 2014 Cloud Foundry Summit.  And boy, is there some content to write about 🙂

If you are not familiar with Cloud Foundry, or, Platform as a Service in general – here is an ultra-quick primer.  Cloud Foundry (CF as it is known) is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) which has been available since 2011.  It was originally developed by folks at VMware, eventually spun off to Pivotal Software.  Pivotal is backed by both VMware and EMC.  CF is quite mature and stable, and is the supporting platform for a number of publicly available PaaS offerings including Pivotal CF, CenturyLink Cloud, and IBM BlueMix.  Cloud Foundry itself is open source, available for checkout on GitHub:

Great, that is CF.  But what is PaaS?  Quite simply, it is an environment that enables the design, development, testing and production deployment of applications in a scalable format.  Also, it provides an integration point for other services which applications can consume…be them managed by the PaaS themselves, or, brokered as a service.  Think of it as an abstraction layer sitting above (or on) infrastructure.  In addition to CF, there are other PaaSes….AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, and OpenShift to name a few.  Bottom line – if you are interested in deploying application easily – targeting specific environments (dev/test/prod) with little muss or fuss…PaaS is for you.

With the primer out of the way, back to the recap.

Our booth was in the main speaking area, which provided us the opportunity to talk with a TON of folks that are very interested in, or have deployed Cloud Foundry – but also allowed us to see all of the keynotes.  There were some fantastic presentations across the entire spectrum of business to technology enablement.  In particular, there were a few which caught my attention:

  • Diego:  Re-invisoning the Elastic Runtime.  Kind of hard to explain here without getting really technical.  In a nutshell, Diego is a complete rewrite of the DEA (droplet execution agent) which is what actually runs your application bits within Cloud Foundry.  This new rewrite, in golang, is going to move the focus from apps to tasks and long running processes (LRPs), along with a whole bunch of modernizations and the ability to support new technologies into the future.
  • Cloud Foundry and OpenStack – A Marriage Made in Heaven.  Self explanatory!  In my opinion, there really is no reason to run CF on anything but OpenStack.  The features and services that are part of OpenStack are ideally matched to a PaaS as it satisfies all of the requirements that a PaaS requires – deployed in a cost-effective fashion.
  • Enabling Cloud Capabilities Through an Enterprise PaaS.  Monsanto utilizes Cloud Foundry as a foundation for their cloud strategy.  Strong business justification for why a PaaS makes sense, including the reasoning and thought behind how IT can enable a agile development infrastructure with an internal, private cloud.
  • Pivotal Web Services – a Real World Example of Running Cloud Foundry at Scale.  Thinking that Cloud Foundry is not ready for prime-time?  Think again.  Pivotal is running Cloud Foundry bits at extreme scale.  Considering that Pivotal WS is a public cloud environment, and new, burps are not good.  Good information was in this presentation on various factors to consider when running CF locally, in a private infrastructure – including log handling, dashboard/admin UI development, and build pack inclusion.

You could say that there was some excitement in the air, as we listened to the presentations and then had a chance to interact with the community of users.  Net-net, we took away that empirical evidence shows enterprise deployments of a PaaS are in an early state, I believe that there will be a sea-change overnight.  If businesses are to succeed and grow, while reducing operational cost a PaaS fits the bill.  And it just so happens that Cloud Foundry is one of the most mature out there…with a foundation having corporate contributor market cap of $1.2 Trillion.

Can’t wait until CF Summit 2015.  In the meantime, to checkout the presentations, head over to the Cloud Foundry Summit 2014 website.

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