As IT organizations are being asked to provision and support an ever-growing number of platforms, they increasingly require an approach that abstracts away as much of that complexity as possible. With that goal in mind, IBM created IBM Cloud Private, an on-premises platform that automates the deployment of a private cloud based on Kubernetes container orchestration software. This week, IBM announced it is extending the reach of IBM Cloud Private to include support for the open-source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.
IBM Cloud Private is designed to be deployed on top of virtual or physical servers, including instances of hyperconverged infrastructure based on software from Nutanix. Michael Elder, an IBM distinguished engineer for IBM Cloud Private, says IBM has developed tools for automating the provisioning of not only underlying infrastructure, but also containerized and legacy versions of IBM middleware such as IBM DB2 databases, the Open Liberty Edition of WebSphere application server and IBM Microservice Builder. In addition, Elder says IBM Cloud Private can be employed to deploy a variety of open-source databases, including MongoDB and PostgreSQL.
Also available for an additional fee with IBM Cloud Private are a plethora of DevOps tools including APM, Netcool, UrbanCode, Cloud Brokerage, Jenkins, Prometheus, Grafana and ElasticSearch. Regardless of the platform employed, IT organizations should be able to apply a consistent set of DevOps processes to manage either Kubernetes or Cloud Foundry, Elder says.
IBM is also addressing security issues by including Security Vulnerability Advisor to scan containers and an ability to encrypt all data in flight.
Elder says many IT organizations will deploy 12-factor applications on a PaaS environment alongside containerized applications running on Kubernetes. IBM Cloud Private is designed to provide a common management framework for managing both environments. However, IBM is not extending that management framework to the IBM public cloud. Elder says the company determined that attempting to create a common management framework for both would result in too much complexity, especially for administrators of public cloud services that require a much more streamlined user interface experience.
Most IT organizations could, of course, craft their own private cloud. IBM Cloud Private simplifies that process by providing all the pieces required under a common management framework. Rather than spending months putting those elements together, IBM is making a case for an integrated platform that enables IT organizations to concentrate more of their efforts on deploying applications instead of managing infrastructure.
The debate occurring across the IT industry now is to what degree will container-as-a-service (CaaS) environments based on Kubernetes supplant traditional PaaS environments. IBM, as a major supporter of both Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry, is clearly betting there will be room for both. The Cloud Foundry Foundation recently furthered that goal by adding support for a Kubernetes runtime.
Thus far, however, the complexity of standing up a PaaS environment has limited the adoption of Cloud Foundry to Fortune 1000-class IT organizations or cloud service providers. Meanwhile, CaaS environments based on Kubernetes increasingly are being stood up by developers and then handed over to IT operations to manage. Given that disparity in deployment models, it may not be too long before the number of CaaS environments simply overwhelm the number of instances of traditional PaaS environments.