Sam Ramji has been doing a lot of research into how enterprises can collaboratively work together on a piece of software. As the CEO of the non-profit Cloud Foundry Foundation, the results of that research have yielded the Cloud Foundry Certified program, which is being launched today.
Cloud Foundry Certification is focused on keeping the core of this Platform-as-a-Service project compatible within cloud providers. No matter the infrastructure below, said Ramji, “The core, what we own as a Foundation, is all interoperable from cloud to cloud.”
That means Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, CenturyLink, IBM, VMware and others have all joined the Cloud Foundry Certified program, and have verified that their hosted versions of the Cloud Foundry platform will all be compatible and derived from the main project—not forked.
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This certification ensures that the infrastructure below a hosted version of Cloud Foundry is “app compatible,” said Ramji. “We have demanded that every company saying they’re using Cloud Foundry commercially has to use the upstream [code]. This avoids the collective business dilemma, where people are trying to differentiate on the core. The standards certify you are using the Cloud Foundry bits from the latest Cloud Foundry release. You have to be shipping a Cloud Foundry release from a particular time window in order to get certified for 2016.”
This all may sound slightly familiar to Java users. That’s because this is somewhat modeled on the Java certification processes, which Ramji said was recommended by Gartner.
“We’ve been trying to do the best we can on a first-generation certification by learning from prior eras of certification. Java was really good on the technical certification. When you’re doing a certification, you’re trying to enable or move large markets. Gartner brought up the Java process over and over again as an example of effective enterprise technology interoperability,” said Ramji.
Cloud Foundry is distinctly a polyglot environment, however. Ramji pointed out that this is the benefit of the platform: By certifying against Cloud Foundry, cloud hosts can assure their customers they are able to host everything from Fortran to Python.
Converse to what this may insinuate, the idea of interoperability across PaaS layers is not antithetical to hosting profits. Ramji pointed out that this enables cross-datacenter hosting, and allows applications to be written once and hosted around the globe.
Certification does have its costs. The cost to create a product labeled “Cloud Foundry” is US$50,000 per year, but members of the Foundation are offered a discount. Those funds pay for the program entirely, as Ramji said the Foundation is not looking to make a profit.