Open source, Kubernetes, and developers, according to Abby Kearns
|Richard Harris in Open Source Monday, December 17, 2018|
As Executive Director of Cloud Foundry Foundation, Abby Kearns helms the ecosystem of developers, users, and applications running on Cloud Foundry, and works to drive the Foundation’s vision and grow the open source project. We sat down with Abby to talk about how open source technologies are changing the industry, and how both large and small corporations are being affected by the increasing presence of cloud native technologies.
The news of IBM's pending acquisition of Red Hat and Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub may signal more industry consolidation to come. We recently had a conversation with Abby Kearns, executive director at Cloud Foundry, about the significance of these mega deals and why she believes 2019, will be the year of consolidation. Abby has a unique perspective leading Cloud Foundry, the open source foundation, which is backed by Cisco, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal, SAP, and others. She shares insight into how large technology companies are looking to mergers to solve a common problem: how to quickly obtain the innovation and agility that enterprise customers are demanding, particularly with new, innovative cloud technologies.
ADM: Why are so many large technology companies suddenly investing so heavily in open source (via acquisition, merger, etc.)?
Kearns: The quickening rate of technological maturation puts pressure on larger legacy organizations who must compete with smaller, more agile start-ups. Matching the rate of change in technology is harder for larger organizations who often have employees distributed across the globe and a more traditional culture. Adjusting to an agile culture and successfully adopting emerging technologies can seem impossible. On the opposite end of the spectrum, open source projects and their frequent contributions are fundamentally agile. Acquiring these organizations is an easy and quick way for large companies to get closer to the speed and agility customers demand.
ADM: What benefit does becoming enmeshed with open source communities provide to these large technology companies?
Kearns: When a large technology company acquires or merges with an open source-oriented organization, it has instant access to a vibrant open source community that has grown over time. These open source communities benefit from diverse collaboration from a variety of businesses across industries and locations. Open source is increasingly leading the cloud conversation and delivering innovation for businesses of all sizes as they provide customers with what they want: multi-cloud and multi-platform solutions, agility, portability, and scalability.
ADM: How are open source technologies enabling organizations across industries to embrace digital transformation and emerging technologies such as IoT?
Kearns: Open source cloud-native technologies deliver increased flexibility and agility to innovate more quickly and at lower cost. OSS ensures collaboration from some of the best developers in technology and continuous improvement of the underlying technologies supporting the cloud. Open source allows organizations to draw from and contribute back to that evolving source of knowledge, making it easier to digitally transform.
ADM: How has Cloud Foundry integrated Kubernetes into its platform?
Kearns: In 2017, Cloud Foundry Foundation announced a Kubernetes-based Container Runtime for managing containers. Although Cloud Foundry Application Runtime already used containers, the Container Runtime gives developers more granular control over them with Kubernetes. This year, we announced two new projects, Eirini and CF Containerization, which further integrate Cloud Foundry technologies with Kubernetes. With Eirini, operators and product vendors can use Kubernetes as the underlying container scheduler for Application Runtime; with CF Containerization, developers can package Cloud Foundry BOSH releases into containers, then deploy those into Kubernetes. Integration with other projects is an essential part of open source collaboration.
ADM: How do you interpret the buzz around Kubernetes?
Kearns: As the Foundation predicted, Kubernetes has become the next-generation approach for consuming infrastructure. As a result, cloud providers and enterprise technology companies have quickly tried to ease the adoption of containers within the enterprise, as the Kubernetes technology itself has rapidly matured. With acquisitions such as those between IBM and Red Hat and VMware and Heptio, we’re approaching the phase of market adoption where Kubernetes consolidation will occur in earnest.
ADM: What other trends are you seeing within open source technologies that will change or improve the developer experience?
Kearns: According to the Foundation’s 2018 report on cloud trends, 19 percent of IT decision makers are currently using serverless and another 42 percent plan to evaluate it within 24 months. Among the Cloud Foundry community, those numbers are even higher, with 69 percent using or evaluating serverless. Serverless, among other benefits, offers developers faster production cycles and lets companies bring solutions to market at a much faster rate with less cost. It also allows developers to focus on what they love to do most: write code. Although in its early stages, in ten years, we predict that serverless will become as commonplace as PaaS is today.
ADM: As companies continue to face rapid transformation, what would you recommend for developers looking to continually refresh their skills and stay competitive in the job market?
Kearns: For most of us, the future will inevitably involve constant reskilling to match the ever-increasing rate of technological change - a rate that is even more rapid for developers, who are constantly expected to learn, understand and apply the latest technologies to their developments. In fact, McKinsey Global Institute stated in a recent report that 75 to 375 million people may need to switch occupations and learn new skills over the course of their career. For developers aiming to stay competitive, they must look for work at a company with a culture that actively promotes learning. If a company provides continuous training, access to internal learning and development tools, and a genuine understanding of the importance of learning, developers will not only do better work and be more engaged, but their skill-sets will stay sharp and competitive. Outside of their day jobs, it’s also important for developers to seek external sources of knowledge. This can be anything from speaking at developer conferences and events to reviewing industry reports.