An open source pioneer in the enterprise

The recent announcement of IBM and Red Hat coming together is a huge testament to IBM’s commitment to developers and open source projects. In fact, IBM has been a part of the open source community since the 1990s and was the first company to pioneer open source technologies in the enterprise with its embrace of Linux as its systems strategy back in 2000. Since then, IBM is consistently among the top enterprises that contribute to Linux code and ensuring that all IBM platforms support Linux.

Cloud Native Computing Foundation

In the beginning: Kubernetes and the CNCF

Fast forward to 2015 when Kubernetes was released. As part of the Linux Foundation’s efforts to provide direction around Kubernetes by providing a good governance model to developers, the creation of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) followed shortly after. Along with many others, including Red Hat, IBM helped to create the core group of enterprises that would comprise the CNCF’s leadership board. Currently, Todd Moore from IBM serves as the Chair of Governing Board for CNCF. Though Kubernetes was the impetus behind the creation of CNCF, it certainly didn’t stop there.

Purpose of the CNCF

Though the CNCF is comprised of the biggest tech giants, the collaboration and work behind the CNCF means that they have only open governance at the forefront. There may be some confusion around this idea that the CNCF is choosing the best method or tech, but it’s simply not true. CNCF has a review board, called the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC), where we review projects to join and ensure they stand up to the criteria listed here. Note that the CNCF isn’t meant to be an “end all, be all” judge for any particular tech or method. By hosting various events and conferences every year, CNCF aims to promote technologies, provide education around them, and also presents the opportunity for developers to network and collaborate on projects together.

CNCF’s impact and growth

Though Kubernetes was the driving force behind creating the CNCF, the organization has grown considerably in the past 3 years. Where Kubernetes was the standalone project, the organization now has a total of 17 projects currently in Incubation. CNCF has also been a proud supporter of conferences outside of its own, such as DockerCon, OSS Summit, and more. The organization is also highly vested in cross-project collaborations and testing so that it can provide developers with harmonization.

IBM’s contribution to CNCF projects

In addition to IBM’s role as chair of the CNCF governance board, IBM is also very much involved in many of the working groups and CNCF-managed projects – such as Kubernetes itself, the Serverless working group, containerD, helm, etcd, CloudEvents, and many more.

The future of IBM and CNCF

As we continue our work with CNCF, we will likely expand the set of projects and our commitment to Cloud Native, open source technologies. We all see the trend where developers and enterprises alike are moving toward multi-cloud and hybrid environments. And containers and orchestration can only help in this move. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation seeks to drive adoption of this paradigm by fostering and sustaining an ecosystem of open source, vendor-neutral projects. We, at IBM, are hard at work making code patterns, tutorials, and other educational resources at IBM Developer to help you create something with open tech.


If you’re interested in learning more about what CNCF does or want to contribute, here are some more resources to check out: