​Microsoft joins Java-oriented Cloud Foundry

Yes, Microsoft. Yes, Java. Oh, and yes, open source.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

At the Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., Microsoft announced the company has joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation as a Gold Member. What's Microsoft doing joining an open-source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud provider, which largely uses Java and Node.js to build applications instead of .NET Core? Easy. Corey Sanders, Microsoft's director of Azure Compute, told me: "That's where the customers are."

In Sanders' keynote, he said Microsoft has been working with Cloud Foundry since 2015. "It's a natural progression for us and our customers love running on Cloud Foundry on Azure."

Over the past few years, Microsoft has increased its engagement with open-source projects and communities. Microsoft has even joined the Linux Foundation. Microsoft -- yes, Microsoft -- is a leading open-source GitHub contributor and has open sourced .NET Core.

Indeed, one in three virtual machines (VM) powered by Azure run on Linux. More than that, over 60 percent Azure Marketplace images are Linux-based. Joining up with Cloud Foundry may sound odd, but if you consider Microsoft's recent embrace of Linux, it's no surprise at all.

For example, major Microsoft enterprise customers such as Manulife, John Hancock insurance parent company, and Ford are already ready running Cloud Foundry applications on Azure.

Why now? Sanders said, "Microsoft and the Cloud Foundry community are deeply aligned around our mutual understanding of enterprise business and technical requirements, and our commitment to help organizations modernize their applications without vendor lock-in."

Yes, you read that right. A Microsoft executive just said he was against "vendor lock-in." As I told him during our interview, "You wouldn't be working at Microsoft a few years ago." He replied, "I wouldn't have been there."

Moving ahead, Microsoft is not just supporting Cloud Foundry on Azure. Microsoft will work on developing Cloud Foundry as it continues its move into becoming a leading open-source enterprise PaaS.

In the short run, Sanders explained, "We are extending Cloud Foundry integration with Azure. This includes back-end integration with Azure Database (PostgreSQL and MySQL) and cloud broker support for SQL Database, Service Bus, and Cosmos DB." Microsoft is also including the Cloud Foundry command line interface in the Azure Cloud Shell for easy Cloud Foundry management.

In addition, the following features are being added:

  • Azure Cloud Provider Interface - The Azure CPI provides integration between BOSH, an open-source release engineering tool and the Azure infrastructure, including the VMs, virtual networks, and other infrastructural elements required to run Cloud Foundry. The CPI is continually updated to take advantage of the latest Azure features, including supporting 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 our most popular services, including Azure SQL, Azure Service Bus, and Azure Cosmos DB.
  • Visual Studio Team Services Plugin - The open-source Cloud Foundry plugin for Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) provides rich support for building continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines for CF, including the ability to deploy to a CF environment from a VSTS hosted build agent, allowing teams to avoid managing build servers.
  • Microsoft Operations Management Suite Log Analytics - Integration with Log Analytics in OMS allows you to collect system and application metrics and logs for monitoring your CF Application.

A decade ago no one could have seen this coming. But that was yesterday. Today, Microsoft is working hand-in-glove with other companies and open-source software.

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