The Cloud Foundry Foundation held its 2015 Summit recently in Santa Clara, attracting 1,500 application developers, operation experts, technical and business managers, service providers, and community contributors. After listening to the presentations and discussions, I believe that Cloud Foundry —one of the major platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings —is making a strategic shift from its traditional focus on application staging and execution to a new emphasis on micro-service composition. This is a key factor that will help companies gain the agility they need for both technology management and business transformation. Here’s what I learned:

  • Containers are critical for micro-service-based agility. Container based micro-services are getting momentum: IBM presented their latest Bluemix UI micro-services architecture; while SAP introduced their latest practice on Docker. Containers can encapsulate fine-grained business logic as micro-services for dynamic composition, which will greatly simplify development and deployment of applications, helping firms achieve continuous delivery to meet dynamic business requirements. This is why Forrester believes that the combination of containers and micro-services will prove irresistible for developers.
  • PaaS is not dying; it’s just evolving to a new era by embracing containers.There has been some noise in the market that PaaS is dying due to the emergence of containers and containerization technologies. This is not true. Forrester believes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. By leveraging the technical capabilities that containers offer, a PaaS offering provides more deployment and execution choices for users of existing PaaS categories, as well as more options to work with infrastructure layers.
  • Diego enables Cloud Foundry to manage the Docker application, while Lattice extends its impact.Diego is the next-generation replacement for Droplet Execution Agent, which is the component responsible for running all applications in Cloud Foundry. In addition to buildpacks, Diego can also support the Docker application life cycle by means of Decker or native support. Lattice is the open source project for running containerized workloads on a cluster. Lattice leveragesbothDiego and Loggregator’s log aggregation and streaming capabilities as well as Gorouter’s load-balancing features; both Loggregator and Gorouter are also Cloud Foundry components.
  • Early adopters have gained real benefits.Comcast is one of the early adopters of both Cloud Foundry and Docker. By implementing two service broker layers based on the Cloud Foundry controller and Docker pool controller, Comcast is able to run Docker containers within OpenStack VM —which is essential for delivering the elasticity and manageability it needs to support organic growth and achieve on-demand scalability.

Red Hat OpenShift, another major open source PaaS offering, is taking a similar journey by refactoring its whole architecture with container technology. Which one do you think will be a better choice for your architectural team and developers?