In a move that portends well for future cloud interoperability initiatives, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) today announced that the open source CloudEvents specification for describing event data had achieved a version 1.0 milestone.
Doug Davis, senior technical staff member of IBM and co-chair of CNCF’s Serverless WG and the CloudEvents project, said CloudEvents will make it possible to not only define common attributes of an event to facilitate interoperability, but also make it easier to share those attributes between, for example, a repository such as GitHub and an application or tool that needs to consume those events.
With that foundation in place, it also should become easier to build tools spanning serverless and event-driven architectures, he added.
Work on the CloudEvents specification began in May 2018 as a sandbox project. With the release of CloudEvents 1.0, the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) is now designating CloudEvents as an incubation project. Active contributors to the CloudEvents project include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Red Hat and VMware. In fact, CloudEvents has already been implanted within the Eventing framework of Knative, an open source middleware project led by Google to integrate Kubernetes with various serverless computing frameworks. Other platforms that support CloudEvents include Microsoft Azure Event Grid, Red Hat EventFlow, Eclipse Vert.x and Debezium, SAP Kyma and the Event Gateway from Serverless.com.
Davis said given the level of support for CloudEvents project, there is reason to be optimistic for future cloud interoperability initiatives. Cloud interoperability has been hampered by a dizzying array of application programming interfaces that often are proprietary. CloudEvents represents one of the few interoperability projects that has drawn support from all the major cloud service providers. Part of the success CloudEvents has enjoyed in that regard can be attributed to the limited scope of the initiative, he noted.
It may be a while before organizations don’t have to worry about being locked into a cloud. However, as a general rule of thumb the more they focus on de facto specifications and application programming interfaces (APIs) exposed by platforms such as Kubernetes, the easier it will be to move applications from one platform to another. In many cases, DevOps teams today routinely struggle with moving applications that might have been developed on a public cloud onto an on-premises production environment. Longer term, it’s also expected IT leaders will want to be able to negotiate lower rates from cloud services providers by threatening to move workloads between cloud service providers.
In the meantime, as event-driven architectures such as serverless computing frameworks continue to become more popular, IT leaders can take some comfort in the fact that interoperability across these architectures is advancing. Of course, it’s too early to say when the CloudEvents specification will become a fully graduated CNCF project, but it is already apparent many cloud service providers are not waiting on that official recognition before implementing it. The challenge and opportunity for DevOps teams now are to figure out how best to employ this capability to create new applications that previously would have been too difficult even to attempt.