Microsoft introduces new open-source specs for developing cloud and edge applications

Microsoft is introducing two new specs, the Open Application Model and Dapr, with the aim of making building cloud, edge and Kubernetes apps easier.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is tackling problems faced by cloud developers with a couple of new projects. The Open Application Model (OAM), developed by Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud as an Open Web Foundation project, is a specification for building cloud-native applications on Kubernetes. And Dapr is a portable event-driven runtime for building microservice applications that can run on the cloud and edge devices.

Earlier this week, The Waking Cat (@h0x0d) on Twitter discovered the GitHub repo for OAM. (OAM was codenamed Hydra, as the Cat discovered.) He also posted a link to Rudr, an implementation of OAM, which is currently in alpha and designed to allow users to deploy and manage applications on any Kubernetes cluster with separate concerns of application developers and operators, as described on GitHub.

"OAM is a specification for describing applications so that the application description is separated from the details of how the application is deployed onto and managed by the infrastructure," Microsoft officials said in their October 16 blog post. Unlike more traditional platform-as-a-service (PaaS) models, OAM is platform-agnostic, officials said. Even though Rudr is built on top of Kubernetes, it is "not tightly bound to Kubernetes."

Microsoft execs said their goal is to bring OAM to a vendor-neutral implementation for Kubernetes on GitHub. And over time, Microsoft may turn OAM into a managed service, like Alibaba is doing, officials told TechCrunch.

Dapr, which Microsoft is describing as a set of"microservice building blocks for cloud and edge" also is meant to be agnostic. Microsoft officials said Dapr will support "all programming languages and developer frameworks," and can be accessed by standard HTTP or gRPC programming interfaces.

"Dapr is completely platform agnostic, meaning you can run your applications locally, on any Kubernetes cluster, and other hosting environments that Dapr integrates with. This enables developers to build microservice applications that can run on both the cloud and edge with no code changes," officials explained in their October 16 blog post about the Dapr alpha release announced today.

I'm curious how and if these new specs will fit into Microsoft's current PaaS offerings, which include the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Service Fabric. It sounds like we'll hear more about these two new specs at Microsoft Ignite the first week of November from Azure Chief Technology Officer Mark Russinovich himself.

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