Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Cloud-Native Tools Compressing App Release Cycles 

Automated releases of enterprise software are on the rise as the frequency of those releases moves from months to days thanks to the proliferation of micro-services architectures that “allow companies to cut releases as often as they need,” a cloud-native computing survey emphasizes.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s (CNCF) bi-annual survey released during this week’s Open Source Summit in Vancouver also reaffirms the steady enterprise transition to growing suite of indigenous cloud tools ranging from serverless technology to application container orchestrators. For example, the survey found that 40 percent of enterprises are running the de facto standard Kubernetes cluster orchestrator in production.

Nearly half of respondents were software developers, the foundation reported. Hence, the survey underscores how developers are managing accelerating software release cycles. The results illustrate how microservices are easing the strain on DevOps teams. Whereas new software versions were released one or twice a year, CNCF reported that release cycles have shrunk to weekly (20 percent) and even daily (15 percent).

The pace of software releases is being accelerated by wider enterprise use of automation tools, with 42 percent of respondents using new tools for tasks such as continuous development/continuous delivery pipelines. Two-thirds of developers said they inspect code multiple times a day.

Serverless technology in which computing and other resources can be purchased on a consumption basis continues to gain traction. The number of enterprises using the technology jumped 7 percent to 38 percent of respondents. Several “installable” serverless platforms have also emerged in the last year, including Kubeless (42 percent) and Apache Open Whisk (25 percent).

As more companies embrace serverless technologies such as Amazon Web Service’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Lambda platform, security specialists have discovered vulnerabilities that would allow hackers to infect applications running on serverless platforms with malicious code.

Meanwhile, early adopters of cloud-native tools said they are making heavy use of public cloud infrastructure (77 percent) while 64 percent retain mission-critical applications on-premises. Half of respondents are using private clouds.

Container deployments continue to migrate from AWS (63 percent) and on-premise servers (43 percent) to other platforms. While Google Cloud and OpenStack saw their share of container deployment decline over the last year, the percentage of container workloads running on Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT) jumped nearly doubled to 29 percent.

“The top three benefits of cloud native technology are faster deployment time, improved scalability and cloud portability,” the CNCF survey concluded.

Separately, CNCF said Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) will transfer ownership of its intellectual property associated with Kubernetes along with management of related cloud projects to the open source group. The transfer also includes a $9 million grant in the form of Google Cloud credits over the next three years. Those credits will be applied to infrastructure costs associated with Kubernetes development projects, the partners said Wednesday (Aug. 29).

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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