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The merger and acquisition activity is starting to pick up again in the cloud native worldView in browser »
The New Stack Update

ISSUE 235: Cloud Native Acquisitions

Talk Talk Talk

“Every single one of us has worked on a project where two days before the deadline, the requirements change out from underneath you.”

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Siân Griffin in this article by David Cassel.
Add It Up
Almost Half of Pure Storage Users Face Storage Challenges

Pure Storage’s pending acquisition of Portworx is being driven by its customers’ Kubernetes challenges. Survey data published in “The State of the Kubernetes Ecosystem,” found that a modest 3.2% of 1,149 Kubernetes users have Pure Storage deployed in production. Unfortunately, 46% of them say storage is a challenge when deploying and using containers, which is higher than any other of the 17 technologies or solutions asked about. In general, customers of traditional storage companies were significantly more likely to complain of storage challenges, but EMC had been long-involved with developing Kubernetes’ Container Storage Interface (CSI) standard, and NetApp had been working on its Trident technology.

It is noteworthy that only 2% of the Kubernetes users were Portworx’s customers, and they too often had container challenges. However, since it is such a young company, those challenges most likely existed before they had been deployed. To hear more about this research, listen to the Aug. 14 edition of The New Stack Context.

What's Happening

Java remains one of the most popular and trusted programming languages, but it is not necessarily well-suited, out of the box, for building cloud native applications.

While Java’s elegance and versatility are reflected in how it can be written once and run practically anywhere, it was developed before the distributed computing model now encouraged by containerization and Kubernetes. In other words, Java is not Golang for Kubernetes. And yet …

Frameworks will likely serve as the solution to Java’s Kubernetes dilemma. In this edition of The New Stack Makers podcast, DataStax’s Alice Lottini, Vanguard architect, and Christopher Splinter, DataStax senior product manager, open source, discuss how frameworks can allow Java to still work for creating applications that run better in cloud native environments and how they represent a new identity for the 25-year-old programming language. Alex Williams, founder and publisher of The New Stack, hosted this episode.

DataStax: Why Frameworks Define Java’s Cloud Native Future

Cloud Native Acquisitions

The merger and acquisition activity is starting to pick up again in the cloud native world. Last week, we saw IT infrastructure software provider Chef picked up by developer software company Progress. And this week, we just got word that Pure Storage was purchasing cloud native storage vendor Portworx for approximately $370 million.

The details differ widely across the two acquisitions, though one theme remains across both: The need for traditional IT companies to get a better handle on cloud native computing. TNS analyst Lawrence Hecht has written before about Pure Storage, which offers a variety of traditional storage arrays alongside new storage services, and how it needed to address the growing need across enterprises to start working with containers and Kubernetes. Pure Storage has been feeling the cloud native imperative for a while: In 2019, Pure Storage joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Congrats to Portworx (and all the cloud native companies) for seeing where the puck is going. About five years ago, “developers started realizing that machines are not the center of the universe, but instead that their applications are the most important thing. They need to think application-focused, not machine focused. And ironically, containers allowed them to break out of this mindset. This defined a shift from a machine-centric control plane to an application-focused control plane,” wrote Murli Thirumale, Portworx CEO, in a blog post announcing the acquisition. In 2020, 95% of new applications are now developed in containers, according to 451 Research. And Gartner estimates that 85% of global businesses will be running containers in production by 2025.

It would be tempting to see Chef as a loser in the cloud native ecosystem, with its IT automation tools being supplanted by Kubernetes. But this may not entirely be the case. Many organizations are finding that tools such as Chef — and still thriving Ansible from Red Hat — are still needed to hammer out the edge cases of automated deployments. Plus, Chef has developed Habitat, a packaging mechanism that is very Kubernetes-friendly. In an interview with The New Stack about the acquisition, Chef Chief Technology Officer Corey Scobie told us: “The types of things that we do around automating application deployment continue to be extremely relevant, whether it's Kubernetes, Docker, or whatever the next generation of micro-partitioning is. The idea of being able to package and deploy an application to any environment with all of its dependencies is something that we've been pioneering for the past few years, and it has been getting, like, extremely good traction.”

In that same interview, Rob Lauer, senior manager of developer relations for Progress, noted that many of the customers of Progress — which after the merger will bring in about $500 million in annual revenue — are independent software vendors (ISVs), companies that sell productivity and infrastructure software to other companies. At present, not many of these ISVs work directly with Kubernetes, Lauer admitted, though as time goes on, and their customers grow more comfortable with containers, Progress will be well-positioned to meet their needs, as will Pure Storage with the Portworx portfolio. 

Laying the Groundwork for Kubernetes Security, Across Workloads, Pods and Users

We are still going through the recorded talks from KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, which are on YouTube now, by the way. In this one, Google Software Engineer Samuel Davidson laid out the foundation to systematically reduce the risk vector of Kubernetes. The talk primarily offered container security fundamentals, but certainly had at least one or two tricks for even the most advanced orchestrators. Rule of thumb? Everything that’s convenient for you also becomes convenient for hackers. Tip? You want to make sure your containers are as simple inside as possible, so if someone gets in them, they aren’t getting much and they aren’t able to jump from that container to others. This means, wherever possible, using distro-less base images.

VMware Provides a Kubernetes On-Ramp for vSphere Workloads

VMware is coupling its vSphere virtualization platform with its Tanzu portfolio to help extend millions of workloads already running on vSphere into the Kubernetes ecosystem. vSphere with Tanzu integrates Kubernetes management capabilities, representing what may be the biggest re-architecture in around a decade for vSphere. With it, organizations can adopt and integrate Kubernetes into their vSphere environments, allowing IT administrators to deploy Kubernetes with the same skill sets that they already acquired by using vSphere. Meanwhile, the developer can “consume the infrastructure the way they’re used to doing it and the way they want to do it through Kubernetes interfaces and APIs” when they deploy applications on vSphere with Tanzu, according to the company.

Serverless Observability: The Ultimate Guide

Serverless applications are particularly challenging when it comes to observability. In a distributed microservices architecture, each individual service is sizable and complex enough to understand at a service-interaction level. Observability can be achieved by examining machine characteristics alongside coherent stack traces that clearly lay out the path of control flow. In serverless applications, however, the event-driven functions are disparate, operate in isolation and are highly ephemeral. It is very difficult to analyze them for potential side effects (such as partially processed batches). In short, any observability characteristics that would prove useful for a serverless application need to be built from scratch. Thus, it’s important to keep in mind the observability of your end state application at each phase of the development process. This contributed piece from Thundra’s Emrah Samdan explains all the details.

Party On

The Tetrate team had its kickoff call this week as a new sponsor of The New Stack! Welcome — we are excited to work with this group of service mesh pros. Clockwise from top left: Tevah Platt, Tetrate; Alex Williams, TNS; Libby Clark, TNS; Aditi Khandelwal, Tetrate; Ben Ball, TNS; JJ Jeyappragas, also of Tetrate; Colleen Coll, TNS; and in the center, Richard MacManus, TNS.

On The Road
DevOps World 2020 // SEPT. 22-24 // VIRTUAL

SEPT. 22-24 // VIRTUAL

DevOps World 2020

DevOps is more important than ever. And that’s not going to change. Now’s the time to see what the future holds in software delivery at DevOps World. And, it’s free! Join us at DevOps World brought to you by the fine team at CloudBees. Register now!

Tune in at 7:30 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Sept. 22, for our livestream coverage of the event after the day one keynotes! TNS founder and publisher Alex Williams will talk with Shawn Ahmed, SVP & GM, Software Delivery Automation Group at CloudBees and Distinguished Engineer at Broadridge, Daniel Ritchie. To watch, go to The New Stack’s Periscope channel

The New Stack Makers podcast is available on:
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