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SUSE Integrates Kubernetes with Cloud Foundry in Cloud Application Platform

Thursday Oct 11th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

SUSE embraces new approach from Cloud Foundry that brings it closer than ever to Kubernetes.

Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry were perhaps once seen as rivals, but today they are complementary technologies that are actively used together. That's a key message coming from SUSE, which announced at the CF Summit EU on Oct. 10 that new features will soon be arriving in its SUSE Cloud Application Platform.

Among the big new capabilities SUSE previewed this week is support for Project Eirini, which introduces a scheduler into Cloud Foundry.

"Eirini replaces Cloud Foundry's container scheduler, called Diego, with Kubernetes," Brent Smithurst, Global Product Marketing Manager at SUSE, told ServerWatch." This removes an extra layer of complexity from Cloud Foundry and ensures a smoother operator experience, assuming the operator is already familiar with Kubernetes, by using a scheduler that is more popular in enterprises."

Smithurst explained that SUSE containerized Cloud Foundry and deployed it into Kubernetes because there was an opportunity to increase Cloud Foundry’s efficiency by taking advantage of the popularity of Kubernetes, and eliminate the need for Cloud Foundry users to learn and use BOSH. BOSH is a lifecycle management tool that has long been a central component of Cloud Foundry.

"BOSH is a very powerful tool, but it has a steep learning curve and is largely limited in use to Cloud Foundry," Smithurst said. "Kubernetes has a learning curve as well, but it is far more popular and widely adopted than Cloud Foundry and/or BOSH."

The SUSE Cloud Application platform is currently a Cloud Foundry implementation running inside Kubernetes. Smithurst said Kubernetes is a container scheduler at its core, so including Diego (a container scheduler) inside Kubernetes (a container scheduler) adds a needless layer of complexity.

"SUSE sees Eirini as a natural evolution of Cloud Foundry – one that fits more seamlessly and with fewer things to break than the traditional Cloud Foundry with Diego," he said.

Competition in Container Management Sector

There are multiple vendors in the Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes markets that compete against SUSE and its Cloud Application Platform (CAP). Among them is the Pivotal Container Service (PKS), which is a joint effort from VMware and Pivotal.

Smithurst said that in his view, even though all of the projects that CAP (CF Containerization and Eirini) and PKS (CF Container Runtime) are based on relate to Kubernetes, they are very different implementations for very different purposes.

"It might be accurate to say that CAP is aimed at people who currently use Kubernetes but want to use Cloud Foundry for its superior developer workflow, while PKS is aimed at people who currently use Cloud Foundry but want to also try Kubernetes," he said.

Embracing Project Eirini is also seen as a differentiator by SUSE as it doesn't require the use of BOSH. Smithurst explained that CF Containerization converts the Cloud Foundry Application Runtime (CFAR) to Docker containers (and corresponding Helm Charts) and allows it to be deployed to and managed with Kubernetes, including any private or public cloud Kubernetes installation.

"This allows operators to avoid BOSH and its learning entirely and leverage their existing Kubernetes expertise instead, and it results in a Cloud Foundry installation that is substantially smaller than one managed by BOSH, and it scales and recovers Cloud Foundry components more quickly, using Kubernetes," Smithurst said.

Smithurst added that SUSE Cloud Application Platform runs CFAR in Kubernetes, rather than beside it, eliminating redundant platform code (BOSH). This results in a cleaner architecture that simplifies overall solution management and support.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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