Engineering

Introducing Pivotal Cloud Foundry

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Summary
Since its inception seven years ago, Cloud Foundry (CF) has become a key component in the world of platform as a service (PaaS). And in today’s cloud-focused environment, the open-source platform—and Pivotal’s commercial version—are more popular than ever.

You may be wondering why we’ve chosen to write an introductory blog on Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF). The platform, after all, has been around for a good while. The answer is simple: many of our largest customers have chosen to use Cloud Foundry, particularly PCF, as their strategic platform for multi-cloud deployment. With so many organizations already using AppDynamics to monitor their critical business applications running on Cloud Foundry, we thought it was high time we took a deeper look at the integration between AppDynamics and CF, and at some of the new initiatives we’re collaborating on. We’ll get into details in the next blogs in this series. But for now, if you’re new to Cloud Foundry, read on.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of cloud computing in the evolution of IT. Cloud platforms enable an organization to quickly deploy network apps and services that scale easily. Migration and build-out tasks that once took weeks, or even months, now take just a few minutes. And rather than focusing on the underlying infrastructure, PaaS frees you to focus on your applications and data.

Cloud Foundry (CF) is an open source, ready-to-use platform that allows your company to get up and running quickly in the cloud. Originally developed in-house at VMware, CF made its public debut in April 2011. A year later came BOSH—an open source tool for deploying Cloud Foundry PaaS—that unifies release engineering, deployment and life-cycle management of large-scale distributed services.

Why Cloud Foundry?

Enterprises today want the flexibility, ease of deployment, consistent management philosophy and framework of PaaS, but often need these capabilities in an on-premises environment. With Cloud Foundry, your organization can run applications on its own computing infrastructure, or deploy them on an infrastructure-as-a-service platform (IaaS) such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, vSphere or OpenStack. Alternatively, you could use a PaaS deployed by a commercial CF provider.

There are myriad reasons why companies need to run specific apps within their data centers. A recent IDG/Sapho study shows that the vast majority of enterprise respondents (78%) plan to upgrade their applications in 2018, an effort driven largely by an inability to move cloud-based apps for reasons of security, compliance, and other factors (e.g., apps that are too ingrained in daily processes). A large number of AppDynamics’ customers, for instance, have committed to PaaS, which often involves moving to an internal cloud.

Today, CF is available from either the Cloud Foundry Foundation as open source software, or from multiple commercial providers as a product or service. It’s a good choice for enterprises that want to reduce the cost and complexity of configuring infrastructure for their apps. Developers can use existing tools— with zero modification to their code—to deploy apps to CF.

Highly Opinionated

Cloud Foundry is a prime example of an opinionated platform, one designed to operate consistently across environments, with every feature working as intended “out of the box,” notes O’Reilly. For example, CF provides the same user experience when deployed over different IaaS layers, and the same developer experience regardless of application language.

Many multinational corporations, including Ford and Gap Inc., have used Cloud Foundry to launch cloud projects and modernize their internal software development processes, reports GeekWire. AppDynamics has numerous Fortune 500 customers in major verticals—including banking, financial services, telecom and technology—that have been using Cloud Foundry successfully for years.

Enter Pivotal

Pivotal, a tech company backed by notable investors such as EMC, General Electric and VMware, launched a commercial version of Cloud Foundry in 2013. In fact, several large AppDynamics customers were the driving force behind the Pivotal project. Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) provides extra functionality not included in the open software version, such as additional tools for installation and administration, enterprise services, support, documentation and certificates.

PCF is deployable on-premises and on many cloud providers, offering enterprises a hybrid and multi-cloud platform. It has many high-profile corporate users, including Allstate’s CompoZed Labs unit, which uses PCF to speed development of its new software services, and to build applications that run both on its internal servers and on third-party public cloud providers.

AppDynamics has long been an active supporter of the Cloud Foundry platform—both Pivotal and open source—and will continue to do so. Many of our largest customers have been successfully running large-scale CF deployments for years. In our next PCF blog, we’ll talk about challenges facing PCF users, and take a closer look at our expanding efforts in the Cloud Foundry ecosystem.