Vendor Lock-In Withers
As long as there have been IT vendors, there has been worry about vendor lock-in from buyers. Businesses squirm at the notion of having data and systems stuck with a particular provider over time, without an easy out.
Public cloud infrastructure, and more specifically, add-on tech from cloud brokers (remember them?) promised to alleviate this anxiety. So did OpenStack, with lukewarm results so far, years after the original promise.
To date, tinkering with interoperability for cloud has been a non-starter for businesses. Once again, the effort to achieve compatibility just hasn’t been worth it.
A New Hope
Now, containers and application services offer the legit possibility of vanquishing the lock-in "boogeyman" once and for all. Why might this time be different? Ruthless commodification is creeping up the stack, where nearly everything besides the actual code the developer is writing can be operated, managed, and maintained by a 3rd party on the cheap.
Which brings us to today’s news regarding Cloud Foundry Certification. This is a big development for enterprises striving to remain relevant as software gobbles the world. Cloud Foundry Certification ensures that application code running in one Cloud Foundry service will run seamlessly in another. Providers who display the Cloud Foundry Certification seal have made a commitment to support Cloud Foundry in an unmodified form – giving customers confidence that an investment in Cloud Foundry is an extensible one.
Interoperability at the container level is one thing. But Cloud Foundry offers much more than an elastic runtime for containers; it is a true cloud-native application platform. A picture* is worth a thousand words:
* @swardley Top Story: The entire PaaS vs Container (e.g., Docker) debate explai... See more from TheTweetedTimes.
Think about the platform elements Cloud Foundry delivers: high levels of abstraction for the developer (with embedded cloud-native development principles), an ecosystem of integrated tools, a fully open-source model, and the pace of new feature development from a contributing body of IT industry heavyweights.
Now add in seamless portability at the infrastructure layer. Today’s news means you can run Cloud Foundry apps, unmodified, with many different providers - CenturyLink, the hyperscale cloud providers, or on-premises. That gives an enterprise unprecedented flexibility and agility.
So What’s the Vendor Angle?
Most customers want their providers to be profitable and growing at a healthy clip. This is just good procurement and mitigates risk. If the biggest names in IT are all going to offer similar hosting services, how do they avoid getting commoditized? If apps built on Cloud Foundry run, unmodified, across different platforms, how does a vendor differentiate?
This sounds similar to the question everyone asked as proprietary software waned in popularity: "How do you make money on open source software?"
The answer lies, as it always has, in operationalized services that work well for customers, which add value on top of the platform. For our part at CenturyLink, we’re doing a number of different things that enhance the Cloud Foundry value prop:
- CenturyLink AppFog – We’re happy to announce that our multi-tenant Cloud Foundry service is Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) certified. This offering, integrated with our other agile infrastructure services with a rich UI, runs apps for just pennies per hour in one of two US availability regions. Customers can use this full-featured Cloud Foundry service, integrated with our Bare Metal and public cloud services, and be confident that apps built on AppFog are portable to other Cloud Foundry environments.
- Cloud Foundry Integration – Our platform has integration with the CFF-certified Cloud Foundry distribution, allowing customers to deploy a Private PaaS environment inside their CenturyLink environment, all with just a few clicks of the mouse. With data centers around the world, CenturyLink gives customers more options on where to run Cloud Foundry.
- Our Network - CenturyLink can offer secure, private, low-cost connectivity with Cloud Foundry deployments to locations around the world.
A Tipping Point Nears
It’s been a long buildup to this crowning achievement for the Cloud Foundry movement. We know better than most. Our engineers have been there from the early days. But the market has come to understand the importance of cloud native applications. If you realize that software innovation isn’t a core competency today – but know that this needs to change – Cloud Foundry and powered agile development should be the first things on your list to investigate.