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PCF 2.0 Expands Platform to Include Containers and Serverless

| by Tim Hodkinson Follow 12 Followers on Jan 14, 2018. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) version 2.0 sees a significant expansion of the platform. As well as the original Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, PCF 2.0 now also includes a Kubernetes-based container service and an upcoming Function/Serverless service alongside a marketplace of add-on services that extend the capabilities of the platform.

Formerly called Elastic Runtime, the Pivotal Application Service (PAS) is a platform for deploying Java, .Net and Node applications that have been built using cloud native/12 factor app patterns. This part of the platform will be one most familiar to existing users of PCF.

Alongside PAS, Pivotal has collaborated with VMware and Google Cloud to develop the Pivotal Container Service or PKS. As the ‘K’ in the name suggests, this provides infrastructure management for the open source version of Kubernetes, either in customers on-premise data centers or the public cloud.

The third piece is the forthcoming Pivotal Function Service (PFS), which was previewed at the SpringOne Platform conference in December 2017 and is expected to join the platform this year. This is a serverless platform allowing developers to work at what is currently the highest level of programming abstraction, deploying small snippets of code whose processing is triggered by events.

Alongside all this, the PCF 2.0 platform now includes strategic integrations with key industry partners including IBM, Microsoft and Virtustream, as well as a substantial services marketplace which allows users to extend the platform with add-on services from Pivotal, Pivotal Partners, and the Cloud Foundry community.

As the '2.0' version number suggests, this represents a significant expansion of the platform. Pivotal’s Pieter Humphrey described it in a webinar as the release 'of a new strategy'.  Jared Ruckle, product marketing at Pivotal, explained to InfoQ that the diversification was a response to the realities of Enterprise software development which is becoming increasingly heterogeneous:

‘There’s an inherent pragmatism in this vision. An app runtime is ideal for 12 factor apps and microservices, especially Spring Boot apps. But not everything fits into a tidy, 12-factor box,’ he said. ‘Sometimes you see articles that frame software development as a zero-sum game. The reality is very different. You’re creating more custom software than ever before. You’re going to have apps AND containers AND functions. It just depends on the workload.’ PCF 2.0, he went on to say, now covers all these bases, but all built on a single underlying platform.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Pivotal’s custodianship of the framework, PCF provides extensive support for Spring applications. However PCF 2.0 sees further steps in Pivotal’s strategy to expand .Net support as well. PAS now has first-class support for Windows Server 2016 containers, as well as a buildpack for traditional .Net framework applications. A merging of the Spring and .Net worlds comes with Steeltoe integration on PAS that enables .Net apps to access Spring Cloud services.  

'You can expect to see a steady drumbeat of .NET enhancements from us in the months ahead,' Ruckle told InfoQ.

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