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Five takeaways from the 2014 Cloud Foundry Summit

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One of the big announcements made during IBM Pulse 2014 was a new offering called IBM Codename: Bluemix. Since its beta program announcement, thousands of people have been testing this new way of consuming cloud in the form of platform as a service (PaaS). Bluemix is based on an open source technology named Cloud Foundry, strengthening the IBM Open Cloud Movement discussed by Angel Diaz in this #cloudchat.

IBM is not only adopting the technology, but also heavily investing in making it successful and self-sufficient by becoming one of the founders of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

cf summitFrom June 9 through 11, I attended the 2014 Cloud Foundry Summit in San Francisco, California. There were lots of presentations showcasing real-world use cases from companies that are already adopting Cloud Foundry as their base technology to deliver faster and better innovation to their business. Also during the event, many technical presentations provided information on how components worked and about new features on the roadmap. These are my key takeaways from the event:

1. A real innovation platform: As usual, many companies that are part of the foundation—like IBM, Pivotal, HP and VMware, among others—shared great information on how they’re taking advantage of Cloud Foundry. As a newbie to the technology, what amazed me most was how others were innovating, like how Axel Springer is changing the journalism industry by offering new services. What does that mean? To quote Angel Diaz’s presentation, “This technology is for everybody!”

2. Application portability: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so it needs to be clear that Cloud Foundry is the perfect solution for born-on-the-cloud applications. A good starting point for developing applications compatible to this technology is to follow the 12 factor guidelines. This enables an application to be moved between clouds, letting the user choose the provider that better fulfills his or her needs, avoiding lock-in. And, also for the first time, it’s a standard for hybrid clouds, as the application is self-contained and can be deployed to a private or public environment.

3. Microservices: The way clients consume services has changed over time. More and more channels like mobile and social are the preferred way to consume services. In order to accomplish a better user experience, the integration into existing services is key. That’s what Microservices is all about. Re-using services allows developers and companies to deliver new products faster. In the long term, it allows small parts of the application to be updated or maintained without breaking the whole chain, but only if services are bound following the 12 factor guidelines.

4. Extensible: One of the main Cloud Foundry benefits is that it’s an open source platform, which allows vendors to extend usage and add features. An example is the User Account and Authentication Service (UAA). During the Cloud Foundry Summit, many vendors shared their customizations, showing how challenges like integrating with existing user repositories or multiple-site repositories can be solved.

5. Bright future: Cloud Foundry is in the beginning of its journey and there’s much more to come. Some of the new features being developed include: Router enforcement with inbound access policy, placement pods, shared routing table, multiple routable ports per application, inbound TCP connections, Docker file push, .NET support with Iron Foundry integration and adoption, SSH access to APP containers, Loggregator for subsystem logs and OpenStack Keystone integration, among others. But there are some features that will need to wait in the queue a little bit more, like multi-region and existing apps compatibility.

Diego is a major breakthrough that will hit Cloud Foundry soon. It is a new way of staging and deploying that replaces the DEA (Droplet Execution Agent), leveraging more performance and flexibility. During the session, Onsi Fakhouri explained how the components work today and how they’ll evolve in Diego, delivering a better experience to Cloud Foundry users. This was the best session I attended in the entire Summit.

Attending the Summit gave me a good vision of Cloud Foundry adoption and landscape. Thanks to Eduardo Patrocinio for his contribution to this article. Did you attend the 2014 Cloud Foundry Summit? What do you think of my takeaways? Please leave your comments below! You can follow me on Twitter @aamiyazaki.

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