If you have been following me on Twitter (@jeffborek) or reading my tech blogs over the last year or two, you already know I like to talk about containers, APIs and microservices.

Picture of a chasm

In the summer of 2017, I blogged on the topic of Who Invented Containers?. My primary point was that while each of us may have a favorite open source project or vendor that comes to mind when you mention the topic of containers, no one company can claim ownership. Many, many entities have played a role in the development of container technologies. The same is true for the next logical step: container orchestration.

If you have been in the IT industry for a while now, you are familiar of the challenge of crossing the chasm, as described in the seminal book by Geoffrey Moore twenty-five years ago. The chasm is the challenging gap in the marketplace between early adopters and pragmatists. I believe Kubernetes is clearly in the process of making that leap. Let’s take a closer look as to why.

Why is Kubernetes the container orchestrator of choice today?

Kubernetes logo

Container orchestration didn’t suddenly come out of nowhere. It evolved as part of the era of hyper-scale computing, which has been growing ever since the end of the dot-com bubble in 2002. From those ashes began to emerge hyper-scale platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

Mesos was an early entrant in large scale computer cluster management space that started as an academic research project out of US Berkley Labs back in 2009 and still has a dedicated community behind it.

Kubernetes was based on over 15 years of running production workloads at Google. It was started as an open source project several years ago but didn’t really begin to take off until it became an independent entity under the guidance of the Linux Foundation in mid-2015. With that, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) was born. IBM was involved in and supportive of the transition, and is proud to be a founding member of the CNCF.

Since that time, the growth and interest in the project has exploded, and the gravitational pull of Kubernetes and the other related projects surrounding the CNCF has far exceeded our–and most everyone’s–expectations. This year, many more companies have joined the CNCF, including the top two public cloud providers, Microsoft and AWS. In addition, our friends at Docker have recently decided to embrace Kubernetes as an optional component along with their own orchestrator, Docker Swarm, in Docker Enterprise Edition.

A final proof point of the success of Kubernetes is the growing list of complementary projects hosted by the CNCF. One of the recent additions is ISTIO, which was formed collaboratively from major contributions made by IBM, Google, and Lyft.

CNCF launches Kubernetes Conformance Certification Program, with 32 Certified Kubernetes Distributions and Platforms now available

An important part of the evolution of any open community software project is the transition from early adopters and sandbox implementations into the early majority–the pragmatists–and production environments. With that transition comes the expectation that clients can count on interoperability and freedom from vendor lock-in.

CNCF logo

The primary objective is to ensure interoperability and application portability across Certified Kubernetes Distributions and Platforms via core end-to-end testing verification.

IBM has earned certification for these two IBM offerings: IBM Container Service and IBM Cloud Private.

IBM is not only investing in the future of Kubernetes, but is also making it easier for developers to drive innovation from their data and apps across IBM Cloud and other platforms.

Here is the quote from the Executive Director of the CNCF:

“The new Kubernetes Software Conformance Certification gives enterprise organizations the confidence that workloads that run on any Certified Kubernetes Distribution or Platform will work correctly on any other version,” said Dan Kohn, Executive Director, Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “The interoperability that this program ensures is essential to Kubernetes meeting its promise of offering a single open source software stack supported by many vendors that can deploy any public, private or hybrid cloud.”

You can read the entire press release from the CNCF.

What’s next for Kubernetes and the CNCF?

Icon of a cloud

In the summer of 2016, the first CNCF conference was held in Canada. (You can read my post promoting the event.) If memory serves me correctly there were about 250 attendees in Toronto.

What a difference a year makes!

On December 6-8, 2017, the Linux Foundation will host KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America in Austin, TX. Get your tickets now, as my sources tell me that the conference is on track to exceed 3.5K attendees and may very well sell out (remember, you heard it here first). Learn more about the event and register at the conference website.

IBM will be a major sponsor of the conference, and several IBMers will be presenting at sessions (including yours truly).

Hope to see you there!

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