Any App, Every Cloud, One Platform: Delivering on Pivotal’s Vision

April 30, 2019 Onsi Fakhouri

Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) recently turned five-years-old. In celebration, I’d like to reflect on how far the platform has come, and provide a look at our plans for the months and years ahead.

Our vision is to make it easy for you to run and manage any app, across every cloud, on one platform. To realize our vision, we are constantly innovating, curating, and integrating the best of open source, and empowering you to build the right software.


Constantly Innovating

Since launching PCF in November of 2013, we’ve made significant underlying changes and added exciting new capabilities. We added things like TCP routing, persistent storage with NFS and SMB, and industry-leading support for Windows workloads. We swapped out orchestrators (DEA for Diego); changed container runtimes twice (Warden to runc to containerd); and evolved the networking stack with things like CNI, Istio, and Envoy—bringing service mesh features to the platform. We did all this while listening to your needs and bringing you along on the journey, without ever breaking the user experience or requiring a complete rebuild of the environment.

One of your biggest needs was an enterprise-grade Kubernetes. While we continued to expand the types of apps that run on Pivotal Application Service (PAS), we partnered with VMware to bring Pivotal Container Service (PKS) to market in 2017. We’re now a major contributor to Kubernetes itself.

Even as Kubernetes demand increased, the need for higher-level developer abstractions grew. You asked about elastic, composable functions that help you quickly deliver event-driven apps. We unveiled Project riff in December 2017 to deliver a functions runtime that runs anywhere,  partnered with Google to deliver the Knative project, and announced the upcoming Pivotal Function Service (PFS). PCF brings these three runtimes together into one platform that runs everywhere.

I’m excited about what’s next. You’ll see more modularization so you can run our components anywhere, while still having the option for a best-in-class integrated platform. Here are a few things we’re working on:

  • Multi-cloud and multi-site services. With PCF 2.5, you can view and manage apps across locations. We’re working on additional functionality for deploying, connecting, and managing apps and services across environments. Pivotal makes public cloud better, and we’re leading the way on delivering a multi-cloud platform that works.

  • Cloud Native Buildpacks and a build service. We’re innovating to give you a simple, fast, secure way to package software, anywhere. One of the best parts of Cloud Foundry—our securely built and fully supported Java stack—is that it will run everywhere, including your Kubernetes environment.

  • Cloud-native .NET and Windows. With PAS for Windows and the upcoming PKS Windows, we’re offering a compelling platform for new and existing .NET apps. Envoy and Istio-powered routing is under development. And with PAS, you can go fast with apps written in any language, running on Windows or Linux.

  • General availability of PFS. Pivotal engineers are working on making Pivotal Function Service a best-in-class runtime for function workloads.

We’re also bringing Kubernetes into more parts of PCF; working with IBM and others on the Eirini project to make Kubernetes an option for PAS; bringing service mesh capabilities to the entire platform; and exploring new ways to automate the installation, delivery, and management of all parts of PCF. And while doing all this platform work, we’re also increasing our investment in OSS like Spring, Steeltoe, Concourse, Spinnaker, Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, Knative, RabbitMQ, PostgreSQL, Apache Geode, and Greenplum.


Curating and Integrating Open Source

We’re building some amazing new capabilities. In tandem, we’re constantly upgrading the open source pieces that underpin our technology.

Our raison d'être is to wrangle open source complexity so you don’t have to. We curate and integrate the best of open source, contribute to help it mature, and bake it into our tested, enterprise-grade platform. We insulate you from the complex parts of open source while serving up all the innovative goodness so you can rapidly build the right software. That’s what we’ve always done, and that’s what we’ll keep doing.

What can you expect next? Advanced network and service mesh capabilities. Istio is beta in PAS with weighted routing as an exposed feature. We’re also in-progress with sidecar support for PAS, and Istio for PKS ingress. Our networking expertise—not to mention our partnership with VMware—is also helping us craft an exciting plan for connecting all your software together.


Empowering Organizations to Build the Right Software

At Pivotal, we don’t stop with our software. We know the innovation we pour into PCF doesn’t matter if we don’t help you build the right software. And that’s what’s so unique about Pivotal: our one-two punch of best-in-class software and services helps organizations compete and grow by giving them the technology they need not just to build and operate applications at scale, securely, on any cloud, but also foster a culture that is optimized for continuous speed, learning, and productivity. That gets apps into production faster, leads to more customer feedback, accelerates iteration, and leads to killer software.

As you can see, we’re investing heavily in PAS, PKS, and PFS. All three bring you immense value. Over time, we will deliver an integrated platform experience for every type of workload you can imagine.

I hope you’ll join us for the ride. It’s going to be fun.


About the Author

Onsi Fakhouri

Onsi Fakhouri is the Senior Vice President, Cloud R&D of Pivotal.

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