If you can’t beat them, join them.
That’s what Amazon Web Services (AWS), did when it officially joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) on Wednesday, just two weeks after Microsoft joined as well.
With Amazon’s membership, CNCF now has the support of all five of the top cloud service providers, which is good news for Kubernetes, a CNCF-managed container project.
Kubernetes was created by Google and is a key technology in Google’s cloud. But Google gave the tech away as an open source project in 2014 and since then it’s taken on a life of its own, with wide industry support.
With AWS’s blessing, this tech is one giant step closer to being the gold standard in what’s known as “container management software,” which is a technology that makes it easier to write apps for the cloud. By supporting Kubernetes, cloud vendors make it easier for their customers to jump ship from one cloud to the next.
Both Microsoft and AWS committed to paying $350,000 annually for a seat on the board, which gives the companies some say in how funding is allocated across projects at CNCF.
“We see Microsoft and Amazon joining as being the end of the beginning,” Dan Kohn, executive director of CNCF, said. “The biggest companies in the industry are saying that there is real value here.”
CNCF manages a few different cloud technologies, but Kubernetes is the big one.
AWS has its own competing tech, a proprietary service which would require users to stay inside of the Amazon technical universe. Kohn said that Amazon can continue supporting its competing product while working on Kubernetes.
And, while this is all a feather in Google’s cap, the true company at risk by the rise of Kubernetes is Docker, the $1 billion startup that basically invented this whole new market called containers and offers a direct competitor to Kubernetes.
Still, Amazon didn’t have much of a choice. Supporting Kubernetes is what Amazon users want. A CNCF survey found that 63% of users were already running Kubernetes on AWS — including Ticketmaster and the music video company Vivo.
Kohn said that most users prefer software that is used en masse, and that can easily transfer across cloud providers.
“This makes it even easier for companies to adopt Kubernetes. Companies want to use software that lots of other people are using because there will be more vendors supporting it and more people finding bugs,” Kohn said.