Abby Kearns named Executive Director of Cloud Foundry Foundation; Sam Ramji headed to Google

With Abby Kearns in charge, Chip Childers as CTO and Sam Ramji heading to Google, what's ahead for Cloud Foundry?

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Credit: Swapnil Bhartiya

Cloud Foundry foundation has promoted Abby Kearns, former VP of strategy, to the role of Executive Director. Chip Childers is taking over as the CTO of the foundation.

Sam Ramji heading to Google

As important as Kearns’ appointment to Executive Director, it’s equally important to note where Cloud Foundry's former CEO Sam Ramji is heading. Ramji is joining Google in a yet-to-be-announced position, but he did tell TechCrunch that “Cloud Foundry is pretty damn important to the Google Cloud Platform”.

Ramji was instrumental in driving open source at Microsoft. He took the helm of Cloud Foundry Foundation when Pivotal and VMware decided to manage it as a Linux Foundation collaborative project. Many may not be aware of Cloud Foundry’s Google connection, but Cloud Foundry was originally designed and developed by a small team from Google led by Derek Collison; it was called project B29.

His arrival at Google is going to be quite significant because Google recently acquired an API management company called Apigee. Apigee has been a Pivotal Cloud Foundry partner and Ramji used to be its Chief Strategy Officer until2015. He had been its advisor until the month of November 2015.

The role Ramji will take at Google will be significant for Cloud Foundry and the PaaS world.

Clound Foundry in capable hands

With the appointment of Kearns, Cloud Foundry is in capable hands. She knows the ecosystem inside out. In an interview, Kearns told me, “Having been part of this ecosystem for over 2 years, I am passionate about Cloud Foundry - the technology and the world-class community that we’ve built. The momentum of Cloud Foundry will increase exponentially in 2017, as we expand membership and focus on addressing the gap with cloud developers.”

Building community and increasing mindshare

Kearns recognizes that the key to any open source software is its developer community and Cloud Foundry still doesn’t have the same developer mindshare as Docker or OpenStack. “We know that creating a successful ecosystem for cloud developers is an imperative,” said Kearns. “Ensuring there are more developers capable of creating and deploying cloud native applications is key to the success of Cloud Foundry, as well as the transformation in enterprises around the world as they become software companies.“

Kearns added that she has spent most her career in the technology industry working directly with users, so they are always at the top of her mind. “Going into 2017, we are increasing our direct support of CIOs and CEOs of enterprise organizations, as they leverage Cloud Foundry to enable their business transformation. We will offer a pipeline of developers that are skilled at developing cloud native applications as well as familiarity with cloud application platforms,” Kearns said.

Cloud Foundry in the OpenStack, Docker container world

We can’t talk about the future of Cloud Foundry without talking about what’s going on in the cloud world. There is a lot of overlap between the PaaS (Cloud Foundry) and IaaS (OpenStack) worlds and no one knows how things will settle out in the years to come. But it’s quite clear that it's not going to be only a PaaS or IaaS world, they must co-exist to cater to different markets, or cater to different use-cases within the same market.

During his keynote at the OpenStack Summit (Barcelona), Jonathan Bryce, the CEO of OpenStack Foundation, compared the cloud technologies with the LAMP stack where different open source technologies, developed by different groups, came together to create a stack that basically changed the web.

That’s where all these different cloud technologies are today. Individually, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, and OpenNFV may have solved different problems but together they can build a stack that solves a much broader set of problems for customers and can deliver more value.

Cloud Foundry was in the game with its container management system called Droplet Execution Agents (DEA) before Docker made containers a buzzword. Early this year Cloud Foundry revived its container management system with Diego that can scale up to 250,000 containers in a single cluster. Additionally, OpenStack ‘companies’ like SUSE, Mirantis and Canonical are betting big on Cloud Foundry. With Kearns in charge of the foundation, Cloud Foundry is going to play a much larger role in the cloud stack.

On a side note, it’s great to see another woman in charge of a big tech organization.

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