While getting ready for Cloud Foundry Summit, I sat down with our resident AppFog product owner, Chris Sterling, and CenturyLink Cloud ecosystem head, David Shacochis, to discuss their respective efforts within the Cloud Foundry landscape and what they’re looking forward to at the upcoming event.

Q: With Cloud Foundry Summit right around the corner, what momentum do you see for the broader Cloud Foundry ecosystem?

Shacochis: Chris sent around this link the other day of Sam Ramji’s interview with Alex Williams on the Cloud Foundry ecosystem – it’s very consistent with the momentum we’re seeing around Cloud Foundry here at CenturyLink.

Sterling: Absolutely, and for anyone who hasn’t heard that podcast, it’s almost required listening if you want to better appreciate the past and future of Cloud Foundry.

Q: What stood out to you in that interview?

Shacochis: The important piece to me is the power an open-source ecosystem holds when it’s well-managed and incorporates diverse perspectives toward a shared goal. Ramji covers how many large organizations are part of the Cloud Foundry Foundation and driving innovations from their particular part of the industry into the code base. It made me think of all the work CenturyLink has been doing with the Foundation to fine-tune some of our past contributions.

Q: CenturyLink has been actively involved with the Cloud Foundry ecosystem almost since its inception. What contributions did we make to the ecosystem this year?

Sterling: Last year at Cloud Foundry Summit 2014, CenturyLink Cloud CTO Jared Wray announced that the Windows and .NET extensions to Cloud Foundry were entering incubation and would be added into the Cloud Foundry Diego release. Since then, CenturyLink has expanded our role in helping bring .NET support to Cloud Foundry with the Diego Windows team on recently added incubator projects.

Shacochis: Our own AppFog team has played a really interesting role in the tool development – dovetailing nicely with the open-source nature of Cloud Foundry. Our team created an OpenStack compatibility layer for CenturyLink Cloud to enable BOSH managed deployments.

Sterling: Yes, we consider the OpenStack compatibility API to be an alpha release well-suited for the BOSH use case but its not yet ready to opened up for other OpenStack integrations. Over time, we plan to develop a more complete implementation of the OpenStack API beyond this initial implementation.

Shacochis: It really gets back to that point about co-opetition that Sam Ramji mentions in the interview. Different members of the Cloud Foundry ecosystem have different perspectives. We’ve got this incredible diversity of traditional hardware and software vendors shaping the direction, as well as newer players contributing back core functions to the Foundation.

Sterling: All those enhancements come from real-world experience. We’ve been hosting .NET apps on Cloud Foundry since early 2012, before it was even considered possible. It only makes sense that we would contribute the underlying code for those Microsoft technologies back into Cloud Foundry to accelerate new capabilities for our customers and the industry.

Q: Beyond the community contributions, how does our role in the Cloud Foundry community enhance the CenturyLink Cloud platform?

Sterling: We’re preparing to release some new capabilities on CenturyLink Cloud, including the addition of the latest version of AppFog, our public cloud-native application platform based on Cloud Foundry. We’re excited to build on past efforts to create a more “unified platform” approach – offering different flavors of agile infrastructure in a single management interface. We’re also building a new marketplace capability that will offer developers access to our ecosystem of add-on services for their apps.

Shacochis: We’ve been able to automate application workloads on CenturyLink Cloud Blueprints for years, but this new ability to marry-up web services with a Cloud Foundry Service Broker integration really rounds out our ecosystem strategy. Between API tools, application deployments and add-on service bindings, we have a lot of flexibility to offer platform capabilities in multiple ways that are meaningful for customers.

Q: This is a huge amount of community and platform momentum for CenturyLink and our customers!

Shacochis: For CenturyLink’s part, we’re a company with a great network, managed services and a huge data center portfolio that can support mission-critical IT services. All our acquisitions and innovations over the past two years (AppFog, Tier3, DataGardens, Cognilytics, Orchestrate) have been aimed at adding automation, scale and interoperability that enterprise customers require in the cloud. Adding Cloud Foundry to that mix is a big part of the story. Can’t wait to get to CF Summit and share this latest development with the CF community as well as some other initiatives we’re working on to strengthen our CF offerings.