We had the opportunity to attend Cloud Foundry’s yearly user conference, Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, held from June 13th till June 15th, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The conference was well attended, similar to last year, though with a wider variety of partners and sponsors. 

So, take a look at my musings on the event here: (if the video doesn’t show up, check here)

No time to watch – here is the 1-2 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):
Want to read on? Here you go: 
Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top 3:

Microsoft joins the kingdom, SAP makes mark – Last year I referred to Cloud Foundry as the ‘King of PaaS’ – due to the lack of competition, most prominently in regards of the platform’s uptake by industry players that in another era would have built their own platform. And certainly not adopted an open source project. So, along the analogy, Cloud Foundry sees Microsoft joining the kingdom. While all partners are important, Microsoft is almost the last data point (Oracle is the last major player still standing out – formally) to join. Microsoft is a key win for CloudFoundry due to the vendor’s long history as development tool, platform product vendor and of course as owner of the Windows franchise. It also helps Microsoft as it gives its customers a (lower level) PaaS as go to location. Coupled with the expanded SAP presence and keynote by CTO Goerke it gives CloudFoundry more chops, most importantly adding two more cloud platforms with Azure and the SAP Cloud. 

Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
Google's Bannerman MCs Day #2 at CFSummit

Ecosystem, certification, platforms – all grow. For any platform growth is vital to keep attracting more enterprises and developers. And the Cloud Foundry ecosystem is alive and well, e.g. the system monitoring vendors were out in force at CF Summit (not so much last year). Over a year ago Cloud Foundry embarked in creating its certification program – a good move – as certifications (when done right) bring order to a services ecosystem: Developers know where they stand, what they can charge and enterprises know who can do what and costs how much. With 5 certifications out there, it’s clear the Cloud Foundry certification program is off to a good start. And lastly CloudFoundry is adding more platforms with the addition of Microsoft to the foundation, there is now formal support for Azure. And with SAP usage of Cloud Platform (CP) on Cloud Foundry, the largest enterprise software vendor has put its weight (and business) on top of the CloudFoundry platform. Nothing not to like. All helps to make Cloud Foundry even a little more dominant than before. 
Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
SAP CTO Goerke sees Enterprise as the new Black

The cloud conundrum – While the capability that is working for Cloud Foundry is its support of multi cloud capability, the reality is different in regards of deployments. While we see most of our client interactions using one of the popular cloud platforms, the uptake of multi cloud capabilities right from the very go live is very seldom the case. It looks like enterprises select Cloud Foundry more for the potential of what they could do later – than what they do immediately. Certainly rationale, as in the age of digital disruption it is better to have a next generation application first, and then worry about its longevity. But enterprises ask for the longevity from a capability right when selecting the PaaS platform. Very likely to come in handy later. The surprise was larger when of the 5 customers in the analyst session, 4 were deploying on premises – all with the help of VMware. Granted the industries were Banking, Insurance, Healthcare and Manufacturing, where regulatory and access issues play a role at slowing down the desire for public cloud substantially. It will be interesting to see where enterprises are deploying in the next quarters.
Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
The CF CLI on ... Azure


A very good Cloud Foundry Summit for the open source project. Another data point on how open source has won, and it was not even close. Cloud Foundry Summit is quickly becoming what OpenStack Summit used to be – the key event enterprises software vendors cannot miss. The addition of Microsoft as formal member is a key step for both Cloud Foundry and Microsoft. The latter gets a seat at the table. And ironically – at joining Cloud Foundry late – is not a major mistake: As more load exists with other IaaS vendor- that could theoretically get ‘poached’ over to the own infrastructure. Different geographic presence makes it another point of play: An enterprise may have started with IaaS A – but use IaaS B because vendor B is earlier in an important part of the world.

On the concern side – Cloud Foundry needs to stop going ‘wider’ (in the sense of platform support) – but ‘deeper’ in regards of making assumptions on the overall stack. Otherwise it risks to have achieve something historic – application portability – but loose that capability due to platform specific ‘stickiness’. There are many paths Cloud Foundry to become ‘opinionated’ (a favorite term) meaning making assumptions on higher up the stack capabilities. This is more than CI / CD, or data base abstraction, but means also e.g. hot new topics like Machine Learning could be modelled across platforms.

But for now, good progress for Cloud Foundry – that one way or the other – openly and directly – or under hood of vendors like GE, IBM, Microsoft, SAP and more creeps its way into the enterprise. CTOs making next gen Apps platform decisions cannot ignore CloudFoundry – and even those who made actively different decisions will see Cloud Foundry comeback (as OEM). (Still) good to be King.
Stay tuned. 


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