Cloud Native Computing Foundation
|Purpose||Building Sustainable Ecosystems for Cloud Native Software|
|The Linux Foundation|
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is a Linux Foundation project that was founded in 2015 to help advance container technology and align the tech industry around its evolution. It was announced alongside Kubernetes 1.0, an open source container cluster manager, which was contributed to the Linux Foundation by Google as a seed technology. Founding members include Google, CoreOS, Mesosphere, Red Hat, Twitter, Huawei, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Docker, Univa, and VMware. Today, CNCF is supported by over 450 members. In order to establish qualified representatives of the technologies governed by the CNCF, a program was announced at the inaugural CloudNativeDay in Toronto in August, 2016. Serial entrepreneur, Dan Kohn (who also helped launch the Core Infrastructure Initiative) is the project's current executive director.
In January 2020, the CNCF annual report for the previous year was issued and reflected significant growth to the foundation across membership, event attendance, training, and industry investment. In 2019, CNCF grew by 50% since the previous year with 173 new members and nearly 90% growth in end-users.
In August 2018 Google announced that it was handing over operational control of Kubernetes to the community. Since its creation, CNCF has launched a number of hosted sub-projects.
CNCF technology projects are cataloged with a maturity level of Sandbox, Incubated, and Graduated, in ascending order. The defined criteria include rate of adoption, longevity and whether the open source project can be relied upon to build a production-grade product.
CNCF's process brings projects in as incubated projects and then aims to move them through to graduation, which implies a level of process and technology maturity. A graduated project reflects overall maturity; these projects have where it has reached a tipping point in terms of diversity of contribution, community scale/growth, and adoption.
The CNCF Sandbox is a place for early-stage projects, and it was first announced in March 2019. The Sandbox replaces what had originally been called the "inception project level.
Containerd is an industry-standard core container runtime. It is currently available as a daemon for Linux and Windows, which can manage the complete container lifecycle of its host system. In 2015, Docker donated the OCI Specification to The Linux Foundation with a reference implementation called runc. Since February 28, 2019 it is an official CNCF project. Its general availability and intention to donate the project to CNCF was announced by Docker in 2017.
Originally built at Lyft to move their architecture away from a monolith, Envoy is a high-performance open source edge and service proxy that makes the network transparent to applications. Lyft contributed Envoy to Cloud Native Computing Foundation in September 2017.
Fluentd is an open source data collector, allowing the user to "unify the data collection and consumption for a better use and understanding of data." Fluentd joined CNCF in 2016 and became a graduated project in 2019.
Created by Uber Engineering, Jaeger is an open source distributed tracing system inspired by Google Dapper paper and OpenZipkin community. It can be used for tracing microservice-based architectures, including distributed context propagation, distributed transaction monitoring, root cause analysis, service dependency analysis, and performance/latency optimization. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation Technical Oversight Committee voted to accept Jaeger as the 12th hosted project in September 2017 and became a graduated project in 2019.
Kubernetes is an open source framework for automating deployment and managing applications in a containerized and clustered environment. "It aims to provide better ways of managing related, distributed components across varied infrastructure." It was originally designed by Google and donated to The Linux Foundation to form the Cloud Native Computing Foundation with Kubernetes as the seed technology. The "large and diverse" community supporting the project has made its staying power more robust than other, older technologies of the same ilk. In January 2020, the CNCF annual report showed significant growth in interest, training, event attendance and investment related to Kubernetes.
A Cloud Native Computing Foundation member project, Prometheus is a cloud monitoring tool sponsored by SoundCloud in early iterations. The tool is currently used by Digital Ocean, Ericsson, CoreOS, Docker, Red Hat and Google. In August 2018, the tool was designated a graduated project by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
The Update Framework
The Update Framework (TUF) helps developers to secure new or existing software update systems, which are often found to be vulnerable to many known attacks. TUF addresses this widespread problem by providing a comprehensive, flexible security framework that developers can integrate with any software update system. TUF was CNCF's first security-focused project to and the ninth project overall to graduate from the foundation's hosting program.
Container Network Interface (CNI), a Cloud Native Computing Foundation project, provides networking for Linux containers.
CRI-O is an Open Container Initiative (OCI) based "implementation of Kubernetes Container Runtime Interface". CRI-O allows Kubernetes to be container runtime-agnostic. It became an incubating project in 2019.
etcd is a distributed key value store aimed at providing a dependable method of storing data across a cluster of machines. It became a CNCF incubating project in 2018 at KubeCon+CloudNativeCon North America in Seattle that year.
gRPC is a "modern open source high performance RPC framework that can run in any environment." The project was formed in 2015 when Google decided to open source the next version of its RPC infrastructure ("Stubby"). The project has a number of early large industry adopters such as Square, Inc., Netflix, and Cisco.
Linkerd is CNCF's fifth member project, providing resilient service mesh for cloud native applications. The tool is based on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) "for developers to help improve communications among microservices."
NATS consists of a collection of open source messaging technologies that "implements the publish/subscribe, request/reply and distributed queue patterns to help create a performant and secure method of InterProcess Communication (IPC)." It existed independently for a number of years but gained wider reach since becoming a CNCF incubating project.
Open Policy Agent (OPA)
OpenTelemetry is an open source observability framework created when CNCF merged the OpenTracing and OpenCensus projects. OpenTracing offers "consistent, expressive, vendor-neutral APIs for popular platforms" while the Google-created OpenCensus project acts as a "collection of language-specific libraries for instrumenting an application, collecting stats (metrics), and exporting data to a supported backend." Under OpenTelemetry, the projects create a "complete telemetry system [that is] suitable for monitoring microservices and other types of modern, distributed systems — and [is] compatible with most major OSS and commercial backends."
CNCF's Technical Oversight Committee "archives" projects that they deem no longer fitting of active promotion or marketing support by the foundation. The Linux Foundation, however, maintains and owns trademarks for these projects.
CNCF hosts a number of efforts and initiatives to serve the cloud native community, including:
CNCF hosts the co-located KubeCon and CloudNativeCon conferences, which have become a keystone events for technical users and business professionals seeking to increase Kubernetes and cloud-native knowledge. The events seek to enable collaboration with industry peers and thought leaders. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 was held in Seattle at the Washington Convention Center. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2019 was held from November 18–21 in San Diego, CA. In recent years, the co-located event has expanded to include KubeCon Europe and China.
CNCF's Diversity Scholarship program covers the ticket and travel to the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conference. In 2018, $300,000 in diversity scholarships was raised to enable attendees from diverse and minority backgrounds to make the journey to Seattle for KubeCon and CloudNativeCon.
Kubernetes Certification & Education
One path toward becoming a Kubernetes-certified IT professional is the vendor-agnostic Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) accreditation, which is relevant to admins who work across a range of cloud platforms. There are tens of thousands of Certified Kubernetes Administrators (CKA) and Certified Kubernetes Application Developers (CKAD) worldwide.
Kubernetes Software Conformance & Training
CNCF's Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program (KCSP) enables vendors to prove that their product and service conformant with a set of core Kubernetes APIs and are interoperable with other Kubernetes implementations. At the end of 2018, there were 76 firms that had validated their offerings with the Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program.
In 2017, CNCF also helped the Linux Foundation launch a free Kubernetes course on the EdX platform — which has more than 88,000 enrollments. The self-paced course covers the system architecture, the problems Kubernetes solves, and the model it uses to handle containerized deployments and scaling. The course also includes technical instructions on how to deploy a standalone and multi-tier application.
Cloud Native Landscape
CNCF developed a landscape map that shows the full extent of cloud native solutions, many of which fall under their umbrella. The interactive catalog gives an idea of the problems facing engineers and developers deciding which products to use. This interactive catalog was created in response to the proliferation of third-party technologies and resulting decision-fatigue engineers and developers often experience when selecting software tools. In addition to mapping out the relevant and existing cloud native solutions, CNCF's landscape map provides details on the solutions themselves including open source status, contributors, and more.
Cloud Native Trail Map
CNCF's Cloud Native Trail Map outlines the open source cloud native technologies hosted by the Foundation and outlines the recommended path for building a cloud native operation using the projects under its wing. The Cloud Native Trail Map also acts as an interactive and comprehensive guide to cloud technologies.
CNCF's DevStats tool provides analysis of GitHub activity for Kubernetes and the other CNCF projects. Dashboards track a multitude of metrics, including the number of contributions, the level of engagement of contributors, how long it takes to get a response after an issue is opened, and which special interest groups (SIGs) are the most responsive.
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