Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Adds Linkerd, gRPC, and CoreDNS to Growing Portfolio

| by Daniel Bryant Follow 760 Followers on Mar 25, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Since the beginning of 2017 the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), an open source foundation dedicated to advancing the development of cloud native services, has added three new projects to their portfolio for hosting and stewardship, including: linkerd, a transparent proxy 'service mesh' that provides service discovery, and communication failure handling and visibility; gRPC, a language agnostic, high performance RPC framework; and CoreDNS, a fast and configurable cloud native DNS server.

The CNCF is an open source Linux foundation organisation dedicated to advancing the development of cloud native applications and services. The CNCF Charter states that 'cloud native' systems will have the following properties: container packaged - running applications and processes in software containers as an isolated unit of application deployment; dynamically managed - actively scheduled and managed by a central orchestrating process; and micro-services oriented - loosely coupled services with dependencies explicitly described (e.g. through service endpoints).

In according with the stated mission, role and values, the CNCF has begun to host and steward several 'cloud native' technology projects, including the initial project, Google's Kubernetes container orchestration and scheduler platform. Since inception the foundation has also began hosting: Prometheus, an open source monitoring solution that focuses on time series data, flexible querying, and extensive integration options for both client libraries and third-party data consumption; OpenTracing, a vendor neutral open standard for distributed tracing; and fluentd, an open source data collector for creating a unified logging layer. Since the beginning of 2017, the foundation has accepted three additional projects at various 'graduation stages': linkerd (at inception stage), gRPC, and CoreDNS (at inception stage).

Linkerd is an open source, resilient 'service mesh for cloud-native applications'. At its core, linkerd is a transparent proxy that can be used to implement a dedicated infrastructure layer for service communication that adds service discovery, routing, failure handling, and visibility to software applications without requiring invasive application integration. Linkerd was created by Buoyant founders William Morgan and Oliver Gould in 2015, and builds on the work that Twitter started with their Scala-based Finagle extensible RPC system.

gRPC is a modern, open source, high performance remote procedure call (RPC) framework that was originally developed by Google. The current implementation is being used in several of Google's cloud products and externally facing APIs. CoreOS's etcd a distributed key/value store uses gRPC for peer to peer communication, and Docker's containerd portable container runtime exposes functionality through gRPC (containerd is also to be donated to the CNCF). gRPC allows service interfaces to be defined using Protocol Buffers, a powerful binary serialisation toolset and language. gRPC also integrates with multiple languages, and idiomatic client and server stubs can be automatically generated.

CoreDNS is the successor to the original SkyDNS server, and aims to be a fast and flexible DNS server, allowing users to access and use DNS data via a variety of methods. It is built as a server plugin for the Caddy webserver, and each feature of CoreDNS can be implemented as pluggable middleware (which can be 'chained' together to create a customisable pipeline of functionality), for example, logging, file-based DNS, and support for multiple backend technologies. CoreDNS has also been extended to operate directly with Kubernetes to access the service data, exposing the client-facing behavior as KubeDNS.

Additional information on all of the CNCF projects can be found on the foundation's website. The CNCF also will be running the CloudNativeCon and KubeCon conferences in Berlin, Germany, during 29th-30th March 2017.

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