New perspectives on diversity, growth, security and hybrid storage shaped KubeCon 2020 – SiliconANGLE News

When Google partnered with the Linux Foundation to create the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2015, the new group launched with 18 members. At the time, the founders issued a call that they were open to adding more organizations.

Over the five years since, the computing world responded. At the most recent virtual gathering of the open-source community last week — KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2020 — the CNCF announced 46 new participating companies, passing the 600-member mark for the first time.

Along with CNCF’s growth has come a move to embrace diversity. The open-source movement was built on participation by a broad ecosystem of developers and, along with the recognition that the community can create lasting software products for the industry, there has been motivation to ensure the cloud native tent has no limits for those who choose to participate.

This has included the launch of the Inclusive Naming Initiative by CNCF and a number of other organizations, with the goal of eliminating terminology such as “master-slave architectural control,” which runs counter to the group’s collaborative spirit.

“Open source is validated; it’s a viable model to build around software,” Joep Piscaer, independent content creator and analyst at TLA Tech, said during a post-event discussion on theCUBE. “The CNCF’s role in making the open-source community broadly accessible and inclusive is what I think is the biggest win looking back at the last year.” (* Disclosure below.)

Security is key theme

The CNCF has thrived because of a willingness on the part of companies to contribute technology for the benefit of the open-source community. An example of this can be seen in the announcement during KubeCon by Venafi Inc.’s Jetstack Ltd. that it would donate Cert-Manager, its open-source certificate management tool, as a sandbox project to CNCF.

Certificates are small data files that bind a cryptographic key to site information and provide a secure connection between a web server and a browser. Cert-Manager allows developers to request machine identities to better secure applications.

“We’re seeing maturity come into play, even with the sandbox projects,” Piscaer noted. “That’s one prime example of how security is becoming the theme and the conversation at KubeCon this year. It’s a very specific, very niche thing to be able to solve with open-source software.”

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Further evidence of security’s prominent role at KubeCon 2020 could be found in announcements made by Commvault Systems Inc. The company rolled out new offerings to provide enterprise-grade data protection for Kubernetes through its Metallic VM and Kubernetes Backup solution.

In combination with Commvault’s Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform and Complete Data Protection offerings, the latest solution is designed to protect and safely migrate containers in hybrid and multicloud environments.

“One thing that is abundantly clear is cloud and on-prem must work better together — not cobbled together — and the right data protection solution is necessary to accelerate hybrid cloud adoption,” Manoj Nair, general manager of Metallic, said in a statement released as part of the KubeCon announcement. “Our customers need enterprise grade backup-as-a-service solutions that can protect the full Kubernetes ecosystem now — also protecting VMs, databases, object stores, and even developer workstations.”

New data protection tools

Data protection was also part of the story in an announced collaboration between Red Hat Inc. and NetApp Inc. The two firms will bring application data management solutions to OpenShift and Project Astra customers. The collaborative offering provides backup and disaster recovery protection for Kubernetes clusters using an automated failover approach. This will also include automation of failover in the storage and application layer as part of OpenShift.

Red Hat’s collaboration with NetApp followed the release of OpenShift 4.6 at the end of October. The latest version featured support for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure Government Clouds as part of Red Hat’s evolution toward an open hybrid cloud model.

Although Red Hat is part of IBM Corp. now, the parent company made plenty of its own news with a series of announcements just prior to the start of KubeCon. Central to IBM’s approach was to bring the data management aspects of the Spectrum Storage product line into the containerized workload world.

IBM Storage Suite for Cloud Paks will now be tightly integrated with Red Hat’s OpenShift and CoreOS platforms. The company also announced that IBM Spectrum Protect Plus data protection software would support OpenShift via containers deployed in IBM Cloud Operator.

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“We are launching a number of solutions for various workloads and applications built with a strong container element,” Eric Herzog, chief marketing officer and vice president of global storage channels at IBM, said during a recent interview with theCUBE. “Containers are the wave. You don’t fight the wave; you ride it. At IBM, we’re doing that.”

One emerging trend in the cloud native world involves the need to manage both stateful and stateless applications deployed on Kubernetes. Stateful applications create a more complex requirement to recover larger amounts of data, and Portworx Inc., newly acquired by Pure Storage Inc., announced added support for the Container Storage Interface in the most recent version of its backup and recovery software for Kubernetes. This will free IT organizations to store data in the cloud along with on-premises options without having to worry about the need for a specific layer of software designed to store persistent data on Kubernetes clusters.

Portworx’s latest solution is part of an “app-aware” backup strategy that recognizes the use of Kubernetes in today’s workload heavy production environments.

“Kubernetes is being used to tackle some of the biggest central board-level problems that enterprises face,” Michael Ferranti, vice president of product and corporate marketing at Portworx, said during a recent interview with theCUBE. “Many in retail, finance, healthcare, etc., are rapidly adopting Kubernetes. Fundamentally, data protection needs to change in a Kubernetes context.”

This year’s annual KubeCon event was different in two significant respects. It was all-virtual as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and it was the first time that Dan Kohn, former executive director of CNCF, was not involved. Kohn passed away in early November.

What CNCF and the tech industry as a whole lost was part of the institutional memory and cultural appreciation that can only come from someone who was there from the very start. In an interview with theCUBE at KubeCon 2019, Kohn offered a valuable reminder of how the foundation’s roots were firmly planted in a commitment to cloud native beyond just Kubernetes.

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“Google had this technology, and if they had come to the Linux Foundation and said: ‘We want to call it the Kubernetes Foundation,’ we probably would have said yes to that,” Kohn recalled. “But the impact then would have been that all of these other technologies and approaches would have come in and said, ‘We need to become part of the Kubernetes Project.’ Instead, there was a vision of an ecosystem.”

(*Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Neither the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Image: CNCF

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