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Building a Cloud Native Future

The power of cloud lies in the ability to create ideas and get them into production as quickly as possible, said Cloud Foundry’s Abby Kearns at LC3.

Cloud and open source are changing the world and can play an integral role in how companies transform themselves. That was the message from Abby Kearns, executive director of open source platform as a service provider Cloud Foundry Foundation, who delivered a keynote address earlier this summer at LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China, known as LC3.

“Cloud native technologies and cloud native applications are growing,’’ Kearns said. Over the next 18 months, there will be a 100 percent increase in the number of cloud native applications organizations are writing and using, she added. “This means you can no longer just invest in IT,” but need to in cloud and cloud technologies as well.

The power of the cloud

CIOs are thinking about how to do more with what they have, how to be innovative and keep an eye toward the future while saving money, Kearns said. Architects have to think about how to build an infrastructure that supports future needs and developers need to think about developing the new apps to allow their organizations to be competitive. So everyone’s jobs have gotten harder as a result, Kearns noted. It can be made easier, she maintained, with collaboration and open source.

“Collectively, the capabilities we can bring to bear around cloud are way more powerful through open source,” she said.

Kearns also discussed the digital transformation movement, and said organizations are looking to become software companies and write and develop code and get it into production as quickly as possible on any cloud. At the same time, they are also trying to figure out how to be more responsive to customers as their needs change and ultimately, get new ideas out to market quicker and iterate on those ideas over and over.

Real world use cases

To give the audience an idea of what the future will look like and where investments are being made in cloud and open source, Kearns cited a few examples. The automotive industry is changing rapidly, she said, and a Volkswagen automobile, for example, is no longer just a car; it has become a connected mobile device filled with sensors and data.

“Volkswagen realized they need to build out developer teams and applications that could take advantage of many clouds across 12 different brands,” she said. The car company has invested in Cloud Foundry and cloud native technologies to help them do that, she added.

“At the end of the day it’s about the applications that extend that car through mobile apps, supply chain management — all of that pulled together to bring a single concise experience for the automotive industry.”

One of her “favorite” examples is the U.S. Air Force, which Kearns said isn’t often thought of as being agile and using bleeding-edge technology. Although the Air Force has a “massive technology budget,” 70 percent of it was going toward just maintaining existing infrastructure. Only 30 percent was going toward research and development and new software.

But the Air Force has implemented agile practices and is now taking advantage of cloud and developing apps to run on multiple clouds, she said. These changes allowed them to rethink how they allocate time and money, and they have been able to get apps out the door — in weeks and months — instead of years, she said.

Today, 70 percent of its budget is going toward R&D and 30 percent toward maintaining existing infrastructure. “And in the process, they also saved $600 million in one year,’’ Kearns added.

In another example, she said Home Depot found itself being disrupted by big e-commerce leaders like Amazon, which sold more hammers in a year than it did. “They needed to figure out how to compete … on cloud with cloud native apps and iterate and develop those applications quickly,’’ Kearns said.

Home Depot invested in a platform and made the shift to continuous delivery and moved thousands of apps to public and private clouds. They went from spending six weeks to develop one app and get it in production to deploying a new app to production every 15 minutes, she said.

That’s the power of cloud, cloud platforms and cloud native architectures; the ability to create ideas and get them into production as quickly as possible, she stressed.

The examples Kearns gave were all done using open source, which “provides an opportunity for all of us to collectively work together, and brings together diverse minds, diverse organizations and diverse people to drive real innovation. That’s what makes open source so powerful.”

Watch the entire presentation below: