IBM turns up the heat on open source Kubernetes with Kabanero project

To accelerate the adoption of Kubernetes, IBM today announced the launch of a new open source project called Kabanero.

Kabanero is the umbrella open source project that also includes two additional open source efforts named Codewind and Appsody. Kabanero was created to lower the barriers for developers and architects to use containers and Kubernetes across clouds by using pre-integrated runtimes and templates.

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"The reason we needed to build these open source projects is really around what our enterprise customers are telling us," said IBM's Nate Ziemann, cloud product manager and the spokesman for Kabanero. "As companies are modernizing and moving to cloud, we see our enterprise clients adopting a hybrid cloud strategy. They're also turning to Kubernetes for running applications on the cloud."

Containers have become the go-to building blocks for cloud-native development while Kubernetes is the primary orchestration framework for container deployments. The popularity of Kubernetes, which was first built by Google before it was put in open source, is one of the reasons for the creation of Kabanero. Currently, there's a "cloud-native" overload that makes it difficult for companies to choose the best technologies for their cloud usage, according to Ziemann.

"If you look at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation's landscape, you'll see that it's really exploded in terms of the number of open projects and commercial projects that it hosts," Ziemann said of the Linux Foundation's CNCF open source group. "But, ultimately the amount of choice for a developer in choosing which technologies to use has certainly become a challenge, and architects need to standardize on a smaller set of technologies for each company. The operations teams who needs to then integrate those technologies and then manage the lifecycle of them also starts to become a challenge. In that process, developers need new skills."

Developers and architects are faced with learning new skill sets to build applications for Kubernetes. Kabanero seeks to reduce the complexities of using Kubernetes by integrating runtimes and frameworks—such as Java and Swift—that developers already use in combination with a Kubernetes-native DevOps tool chain.

The pre-built deployment use cases to Kubernetes and Knative, using Operators and Helm charts, are built on best practices, which means developers can spend more on their applications and less time learning the infrastructures, according to Ziemann.

"If you look at Kubernetes, its exposes more infrastructure requirements and infrastructure knowledge than the developer needs to have compared to more of a traditional organization with traditional infrastructure," Ziemann said.  "In order to grow adoption, you need to be able to provide technology choices that are easy for a developer and a company to adopt. With Kabanero, it's flexible and it can also work within their organizational structure.

"So, this is about not requiring them to be a full, modern DevOps shop to get started with containers and Kubernetes. That's really what we're trying to provide."

Within Kabanero, Appsody is an open source project that was designed to simplify the creation of cloud-native applications in containers. By using Appsody's templates and pre-configured stacks, developers can create microservices in minutes that meet their organizations' standards and requirements.

IBM also made the first major contribution to Codewind, which is a new open source community managed by the Eclipse Foundation. Codewind provides extensions to popular integrated development environments (IDEs) including VS Code, Eclipse, and Eclipse Che, which enable developers to use workflow and IDEs that they already know to build applications in containers. With Codewind, developers can  iterate, debug, and performance test apps inside a container the same way they run in production. Kabanero and Appsody will use Codewind to provide an integrated IDE framework.

By taking smaller bites out of the Kubernetes, cloud-native and container projects that are hosted by the CNCF, Kabanero lets developers tap into the use cases that directly apply to their organizations. Ziemann said Kabanero works side by side with CNCF and other Kubernetes open source projects.

"A lot of the technologies that we're choosing within Kabanero are already technologies that are one small piece of an end-to end-solution, and those are already part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation," he said. "We're not competing with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in any sort of way. It's actually kind of the opposite. We're looking at choosing a set of technologies, and integrating them together to provide an integrated experience for both developers and for enterprises."