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Microsoft Throws Its Weight Behind Cloud Foundry

Microsoft this week announced it has joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation, solidifying its relationship with the popular open source cloud platform.

Cloud Foundry is quickly emerging as a DevOps platform of choice among enterprises looking to develop applications in any language and deploy in container images on any supported infrastructure. Conceived originally by SpringSource, which was acquired by VMware in 2009, the Java-oriented Cloud Foundry project was later spun into Pivotal Labs. Pivotal contributed to the Cloud Foundry open source project while offering its own commercial stack.

In addition to Pivotal, among Cloud Foundry's principal stakeholders are the rest of the Dell Technologies family, including Dell EMC, and VMware. Cisco, Google, IBM, SAP and SUSE are also among those who have made strategic bets on Cloud Foundry.

Microsoft first announced support for Cloud Foundry two years ago with the release of service broker integration and a cloud provider interface to provision and manage Cloud Foundry in Azure via an Azure Resource Manager template. Microsoft added Pivotal Cloud Foundry to the Azure Marketplace last year.

A growing number of enterprises have found Cloud Foundry appealing because of its ability to scale and support automation in multiple hybrid and public cloud environments. GE, Ford, Manulife and Merrill are among a number of large Microsoft customers using Cloud Foundry as their cloud application platform, noted Corey Sanders, Microsoft's director of Azure Compute. Sanders announced Microsoft's plan to become a Gold sponsor of Cloud Foundry at the annual Cloud Foundry Summit, taking place this week in Santa Clara, Calif. While Microsoft already offers some support for Cloud Foundry in Azure, the company is making a deeper commitment, Sanders explained Wednesday in a blog post.

"Cloud Foundry on Azure has seen a lot of customer success, enabling cloud migration with application modernization while still offering an open, portable and hybrid platform," Sanders noted.

Microsoft's extended Cloud Foundry support in Azure includes integration with Azure Database (PostgreSQL and MySQL) and cloud broker support for SQL Database, Service Bus and Cosmos DB. Microsoft has also added the Cloud Foundry CLI in its Azure Cloud Shell, which Sanders said will provide "easy CF [Cloud Foundry] management in seconds."

Sanders outlined some other key integration points and tools that will enable deeper support for Cloud Foundry running in Azure, including:

  • Azure Cloud Provider Interface: The Azure CPI provides integration between BOSH and the Azure infrastructure, including the virtual machines, virtual networks and other infrastructure elements required to run Cloud Foundry. The CPI is continually updated to take advantage of the latest Azure features, including support for Azure Stack.

  • Azure Meta Service Broker: The Azure Meta Service Broker provides Cloud Foundry developers with an easy way to provision and bind their applications to some of the most popular services, including Azure SQL, Azure Service Bus and Azure Cosmos DB.

  • Visual Studio Team Services Plug-In: The Cloud Foundry plug-in for Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) provides rich support for building continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines for Cloud Foundry, including the ability to deploy to a Cloud Foundry environment from a VSTS-hosted build agent, allowing teams to avoid managing build servers.

  • Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) Log Analytics: Integration with Log Analytics in OMS allows users to collect system and application metrics and logs for monitoring Cloud Foundry applications.

Microsoft, Google and Red Hat are among those working to build support into their service brokers to provide a single and simple means of providing services to native cloud software and SaaS offerings based on Cloud Foundry (as well as OpenShift and Kubernetes). The resulting Open Service Broker API project, announced in December, aims to provide a single interface across multiple application and container service platforms. While Microsoft announced support for the API at the time, Sanders said it is formally joining that group, which includes Fujitsu, GE, IBM and SAP.

"Working with this group, I hope we can accelerate the efforts to standardize the interface for connecting cloud native platforms," Sanders said, promising that the company will also ensure application portability across platforms and clouds.

Microsoft will host a webinar on July 20 that describes how to create applications using Cloud Foundry on Azure, including examples of existing customer implementations.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.