The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is:
an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud native computing universal and sustainable
They do this by hosting and “incubating” projects they see as valuable, helping them to develop and reach maturity, where they can be used widely in cloud environments.
CNCF has over 350 members including the world’s largest public cloud and enterprise software companies as well as dozens of innovative startups
The CNCF is also backed by the Linux Foundation, who are fast becoming one of the most recognised organisations in the industry. They support the open source community as a whole, aiming to protect and accelerate development of the Linux kernel, along with many other things.
Why should I care?
The CNCF is exciting as, for me at least, it provides a bit of a portal into the way that the industry is moving at the moment. It showcases both the current behemoths of cloud computing software stacks, along with projects that are likely to replace or supplement them in the future. The CNCF split their projects into 3 main categories:
Graduated projects are ones that have reached maturity and see wide adoption. The current list of these projects at the time of writing are Kubernetes, Prometheus, Envoy, CoreDNS and containerd. If you’ve been even dabbling in the cloud/linux community, then you’ve probably heard of at least a few of these projects.
Incubating projects are ones that haven’t quite hit the prime time yet, but are well on their way. These currently include projects such as rkt, a container engine that’s a potential competitor for Docker, CNI (Container Network Interface), which focuses on configuring networking within containers, and etcd, a key-value store designed for storing critical system data.
I find the CNCF useful for guiding me on what pieces of software I should be learning to enhance my skill set as they’re likely to be desirable in the short to medium term. It’s also one of the first places I’m likely to check for a piece of software that fits a particular need, as I know that CNCF projects are going to be active, well supported, and have lots of related stack overflow questions / Github issues for when I’m getting started.
Training and Certification
The CNCF also offer some training and certification options. This is useful to prove that you’re familiar and capable with some of the technologies they support. At the time of writing, the training courses and certifications they offer are all kubernetes based (which is by no means a bad thing), but I’m sure they will offer more in the future.
In summary, the CNCF acts a sort of central hub for a lot of the hottest and biggest projects right now, and even if you’re don’t have a particular need for them at this time, it’s good to know what’s out there right now, as well as coming over the hill, and it’s therefore useful for this reason alone.