Amazon joins Kubernetes-focused CNCF industry group

Amazon has joined the consortium that supports Kubernetes and the world of containers in the cloud, though its Kubernetes intentions are unclear

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, created to promote and develop technologies like Kubernetes and core components of the container ecosystem spawned by Docker, welcomed Amazon Web Services into its fold this week.

Amazon comes on board as a top-level ("platinum") member. According to Amazon's Adrian Cockcroft, now a member of the CNCF's governing board, containers are the big reason Amazon's getting involved -- at least, initially.

Amazon already has a major investment in container tech. Its ECS service provides managed containers that run via machine images deployed on clusters of EC2 instances. Its older Elastic Beanstalk service can deploy and manage Docker containers, although they're scaled and managed via Amazon's own internal stack, not the CNCF's Kubernetes. And users can always manually deploy Docker Enterprise Edition, a container-centric Linux such as CoreOS, or a Kubernetes cluster on EC2.

Cockcroft says Amazon is specifically interested in participating in the Containerd project, a key piece of container infrastructure donated by Docker to the CNCF to provide a common, public base for container development.

Another project Amazon is contemplating involving itself with is CNI, the Container Networking Interface, a standard for creating plugins to control networking between containers. "We expect CNI to be the basis for all container-based networking on AWS,” Cockcroft said.

But then there's Kubernetes, the one CNCF project Amazon has not yet chosen to support with the same degree of total integration as containers themselves. That contrasts with the other major cloud platform providers: Google Container Engine has Kubernetes as a first-class citizen -- no surprise, given that Kubernetes is Google's own creation -- and Microsoft Azure also provides its own Kubernetes implementation via Azure Container Service.

If a post-CNCF Amazon has anything major in mind for Kubernetes, such as creating native support in AWS for Kubernetes, it isn't saying so. What's more likely is that Amazon will just bolster support for Kubernetes as it's currently used on Amazon Web Services -- that is, via clusters of machine images running on EC2.

Cockcroft noted that Kubernetes is widely deployed in this fashion, but he offered few details about how Amazon's contributions might change that. He said only that "we have plans for more Kubernetes blog posts and code contributions, and think there are opportunities to propose existing and future AWS open source projects to be incubated by CNCF."

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