Joyent CTO Says Enterprises Supporting Cloud Apps to Avoid Disruption

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2016-05-05 Print this article Print
Cantrill Soyent

We have been doing container-native infrastructure for a very long time. But it was on an island that we inherited from the Solaris legacy. The world was running Linux binaries and with the explosion of Docker we realized we needed to combine the best of both worlds. And we did that by adding a Linux substrate to the top of SmartOS that allows you to run Docker containers on top of SmartOS.

Are your customers changing along with that?

We have lot of retail customers. Most retailers will not deploy on [Amazon Web Services] as a point of principle, so retail is a big area. But we have had many transformations the last year and a half, relying less on startups [as customers]. One of the challenges of the cloud is that most of the customers we had four years ago are now out of business. We have more established customers now because those enterprises are no longer viewing the cloud as something for startups. They are no longer viewing the cloud as "public." Our belief is that you should be able to run on-premises and still have cloud infrastructure. You shouldn't have to choose between the public cloud and blades and SANs.

How are feeling about the progress of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation?

It's getting there. We have done a bold thing. We have all the significant voices in the room and on the technical oversight committee, people who are rivals. Everyone is trying to be polite. We have generated the UN Security Council of containers: We have Docker, Mesosphere, Kubernetes, Cisco and Joyent and others, and so if we have things that all of these folks agree on, then it's probably "the truth." If we keep the group focused on areas of consensus, we can make forward progress.

What is the end game of the CNCF?

To improve the industry, to reduce the level of confusion, to provide a home for projects that are cloud-native. I have been likening this to the IETF, and what the Internet Engineering Task Force did for the Internet, we want to serve that role for cloud-native computing. It was slow to get started and some folks mistake deliberation for stagnation. We have to know where we are going and why first. But the upshot is we have the right voices in the room, we have a budding foundation of true consensus and we can really start moving forward.

What is going to be the next piece added after Kubernetes?

The next project for incubation is likely a project called Prometheus. It's a monitoring framework started by SoundCloud by some ex-Google engineers. It has a broad base of support. They are looking for a foundation to support it and it's a great fit. So Prometheus will be the next one, I think.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.


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