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Linux Foundation wrangles app container wranglers into new org

Industry bigwigs to collaborate on 'Cloud Native Computing'

The Linux Foundation has announced the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a new collaborative project aimed at making it easier for businesses to build and deploy containerized cloud applications oriented around microservices.

"This new organization aims to advance the state-of-the-art for building cloud native applications and services, allowing developers to take full advantage of existing and to-be-developed open source technologies," the Linux Foundation wrote in a press release introducing the new group, which was launched at the OSCON conference in Portland, Oregon this week.

Among CNCF's founding members are AT&T, Box, Cisco, Cloud Foundry Foundation, CoreOS, Cycle Computing, Docker, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Google, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Kismatic, Mesosphere, Red Hat, Switch Supernap, Twitter, Univa, VMware and Weaveworks.

The foundation says it will begin accepting additional members in the coming weeks, once it gets its governance model worked out.

If you wanted to guess who some of those future members might be, you probably couldn't go wrong by checking the homepage of the recently formed Open Container Project (OCP) to see who has yet to join CNCF.

While the Open Container Project is collaborating on a common container runtime and image format, however – and CNCF plans to help with that effort – the new foundation's main focus will be on orchestration and making it easier to integrate separate software components into cohesive cloud infrastructure.

"The really nice thing about CNCF is that it's one layer above the OCP," Docker engineer Patrick Chanezon told The Reg in a phone briefing. "So OCP is that common container image and runtime standard that all containers are going to use, and the CNCF builds on top of OCP a layer of reference implementation that should be interoperable but that rely on OCP."

To that end, Google says it has donated the source code to its open source Kubernetes container orchestration software to the CNCF, and one role of the new foundation will be to govern future development of the code.

Kubernetes reached version 1.0 on Tuesday and already comprises some 14,000 code commits from more than 400 contributors.

But beyond Kubernetes, the CNCF plans to develop new open source tools, APIs, and standards for containers and cloud infrastructure. These will be produced with the guidance of a Technical Oversight Committee using a "code-first approach" – in other words, implementations will inform specifications, not the other way around.

The CNCF will also include an End User Advisory Board, to make sure the work the foundation is doing is properly aligned with what customers actually want.

More information about the CNCF, including a form to request more information about membership, is available on the foundation's website. ®

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