March 2, 2016

Companies that Support Linux: Apprenda

image002Last fall, Apprenda -- an enterprise platform as a service (PaaS) provider -- joined the Linux Foundation and the Open Container Initiative. And, just this week, the company announced it has joined Kubernetes, a container management system developed by Google.

According to the blog post, Apprenda plans to incorporate Kubernetes into its current architecture, stating “over the course of the next few product releases, we’ll be merging Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration system from Google, into our architecture and joining the Kubernetes community.”

As part of our series on companies that support Linux, we talked with Chris Gaun, Director of Strategy at Apprenda, to learn more about the company’s new direction and open source commitment.

What does Apprenda do?

Apprenda is the leader in enterprise Platform as a Service (PaaS). With Apprenda, enterprise development teams can securely deliver an entire ecosystem of data, services, applications, and APIs to internal and external customers across any infrastructure.

Apprenda recently joined the Kubernetes open source community and is incorporating this solution into its existing platform. The combined solution will support the thousands of existing applications that form the bedrock of the enterprise as well as cloud native IoT, next generation front ends and new consumer facing apps needed to compete and grow a business. For organizations already using Kubernetes, this strategy will help them extend the platform to their entire application portfolio.

The growth of Docker containers is unmatched in open source history. Combined with orchestration tools like Kubernetes, these components are becoming the de-facto standard of cloud native architecture. The Kubernetes project has authentic groundswell with 660 unique contributors, over 30% of which are not vendors. It is the type of network-effect that cannot be forced or bought. [See the figure above.]

How and why is open source important to Apprenda?  

Apprenda has always leveraged open source projects such as ZooKeeper, Tomcat, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. However, for existing applications, there was not a standard community-driven open source solution for orchestration. Apprenda used OSS projects and proprietary software from Microsoft to build orchestration for these traditional .NET, Java (EE and SE), and other applications.

With new projects designed under cloud native constructs, open source software like Docker and Kubernetes are providing core de facto standards to build next generation applications. Kubernetes breadth cannot be matched. The project has 12,523 changesets, 628 developer contributions, and 491 companies working on it as of last year. That core for cloud native architecture would be impossible without an open source project powered by both a genuine network effect and deep experience. Google is the largest and oldest case study for running containers in enterprise-wide production. Because they are dealing with some of the most complex problems in IT, Google has always led in defining solutions for distributed systems – Big Data (map reduce), Bigtable, SDN, etc. Apprenda believes that we can contribute to Kubernetes with our years of experience in designing a cloud platform used by Fortune 500 and government organizations.

Why did Apprenda join the Linux Foundation and the Open Container Initiative?

As open source becomes more central to our strategy for adopting cloud native orchestration, Apprenda wanted to join the top foundations for cloud native computing – including the Linux Foundation, Open Container Initiative, and Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Why is the Open Container Initiative important to Apprenda?ApprendaLogo

The Open Container Initiative is important because it sets standards for containers that can be used by every orchestration solution. The Open Container Initiative will ensure compatibility for containers among different projects.

What interesting trends are you seeing within the project? Is Apprenda involved in other projects?

The fact that multiple foundations are connected is interesting. Apprenda is also part of Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

What do you see as the benefits of collaborative development for such projects? How does such collaboration benefit Apprenda's customers or users?

Kubernetes had 16 major releases, with an average of 19.2 days between releases, in 2015. Organizations are looking to make their existing enterprise investments more efficient but are, in general, not looking to change the systems of records every month. However, for new cloud native projects that will drive new revenue streams and competitive advantage, delivering new cutting edge platform features is essential. Of all the open source projects for cloud native Apprenda looked at, Kubernetes was the clear leader in diversity of contributors and pulse.

What’s next for Apprenda?

Apprenda is merging Kubernetes into the existing Apprenda architecture and enhancing our cloud native capabilities to ensure an even better experience for customers. This ensures that enterprises have an on-premises PaaS that can deliver a best of breed cloud platform for both existing applications and cloud native applications for Linux & Windows, without compromises. Apprenda brings eight years of research and development around security, governance, policy, compliance and enterprise compatibility/integrations to the table. Apprenda expands beyond Kubernetes, as well, to add support for existing applications.

Apprenda will also overlay existing Kubernetes clusters that customers are using, such as Google Container Engine, and deliver full enterprise platform features.

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