CNCF developer ecosystem expands amid cloud-native adoption

CNCF developer ecosystem expands amid cloud-native adoption

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KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe was a sellout show this year, with more than 7,500 attendees, 65% of whom were attending for the first time.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s developer core was there in force, but so were users, executives and a large crowd of university students. Add the thousands more attending virtually, and the CNCF’s goal of making cloud-native ubiquitous seems a lot more realistic than it did just a few years ago.

“Over the course of the pandemic, as you know, every company became a technology company,” said Priyanka Sharma (pictured), CNCF’s executive director and general manager. “And when that kind of change is going around the world, cloud-native, being the scaffolding of how people build and deploy modern software, just grew really with it.”

Sharma spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Paul Gillin and Keith Townsend at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the growth of the CNCF ecosystem and how it is related to the pandemic adoption of cloud-native, why it’s OK that KubeCon + CloudNativeCon doesn’t make any money and how to submit a CNCF Sandbox project for approval. (* Disclosure below.)

Not-for-profit CNCF encourages participation at all levels

The surge in cloud-native adoption driven by the pandemic is evident across the CNCF. Its developer community now tops 7.1 million members, and there are over 120 active projects. Every week, around a thousand people take a certification exam through the CNCF’s training programs, a number that grows at 216% year over year, according to Sharma.

“We do mentorship programs, internship programs, a lot of diversity scholarships, these events,” she said. “It all comes together to support the ecosystem to grow.”

Many people aren’t aware that the CNCF is not-for-profit, and the aim of events such as KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is simply to spread the cloud-native gospel.

“We don’t actually do the shows to make money,” Sharma said. “We are only doing the events to enable the community and bring people from different companies together. So our goal is to try and break even.”

Another misperception is that the CNCF only focuses on the big-name players in its ecosystem. The organization actively encourages small projects, and getting a project accepted at the sandbox level is a straightforward process, according to Sharma.

There are three tiers of projects, categorized according to if they are graduated, incubating or sandbox. The smallest number of projects are in the graduated level, which includes the “stars” of the ecosystem, such as Kubernetes, Prometheus, Fluentd and Helm. These are the most mature and proven and have been given the CNCF’s official stamp of approval. Next are incubating projects, which Sharma described as “pretty solid technologies with good usage that are getting there.”

Then, there is the CNCF Sandbox, which is “open ground for innovation,” Sharma said. In order to get a project approved at Sandbox status, all developers need is to have built a GitHub repo. Following the process outlined on GitHub, they submit the URL and basic information on the project via a Google form. Then, once a month, the CNCF’s technical committee meets to review and take a group vote on these submissions.

The bar to entry is low in that it’s easy to apply … and once you’re in, you have a neutral IP zone created by being a CNCF project that you can attract more maintainers; more companies can start collaborating,” Sharma said.

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe event:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe event. Neither the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the sponsor of this segment, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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