Every time Lyft riders order a car and step into the vehicle, they’re entering much more than a mass of metal on four wheels. They’re being propelled by a massive microservices-oriented computerized infrastructure fueled by the Kubernetes open-source container orchestration platform and other key open-source tools.
Envoy, an edge and service proxy for cloud-native applications developed by Lyft engineers, officially “graduated” from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in November. It is only the third open-source project to reach such a stage, following Kubernetes itself and the monitoring and alert system Prometheus.
Envoy’s success is notable not only because it has rapidly become an integral part of enterprise computing, already used by a number of major companies, such as IBM Corp., Airbnb Inc. and Netflix Inc., but because it was developed out of the end-user community rather than an open-source vendor. It provides yet another example of how open-source tools now drive major portions of daily life, from ride-hailing to vacation rentals to watching a movie.
“I think we’re benefiting from the turnaround in industry that’s happening right now where companies are looking to finally modernize their infrastructure,” said Chris Aniszczyk (pictured), chief technology officer and chief operating officer of CNCF. “We’re past that threshold of early adopters and tinkerers and now we’re moving to full-blown mainstream adoption.”
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Aniszczyk spoke with John Furrier and Stu Miniman, livestreaming studio, during the recent KubeCon + CloudNativeCon event in Seattle. They discussed the goals and initiatives of CNCF, growth of open-source in China, the future direction of Kubernetes, and the foundation’s view of serverless computing.
What’s driving adoption of open-source tools deep in the enterprise is a developer community seeking easy-to-deploy, self-contained processes. The Envoy case study at Lyft provides a prime example of how this is playing out.
As described in a blog post last year by Lyft developer Matt Klein, the ride-hailing company was facing a growing problem with managing services written in many languages, which added pressure to its process proxy tools. As Lyft continued to grow, so did the need for micro services management and observability.
Klein and his team couldn’t find any open-source tools to easily deal with these issues, so they built Envoy. “The business of Lyft’s is as of now make an entirely based on open-source latest innovative technology,” said Klein in his post. “Without it, it’s unlikely that the rides-haring service we know and love would exist today. “
Lyft’s experience and contribution to the open-source world underscored an important role being played by CNCF. The foundation, formed only three years ago, started by hosting Kubernetes and has since expanded to include 31 projects, which encompass the ecosystem for cloud applications and infrastructure delivery.
“The whole goal of the foundation is basically to cultivate and sustain and grow projects that come in,” Aniszczyk said. “Some of them are going to work and be very successful; some may never leave the sandbox.”
A key growth area for the foundation can be found in China. Asia has experienced a spike in cloud-native adoption of 135 percent since March, according to a CNCF survey, and there are several key open-source projects that have been born in the country.
One of these projects, TiKV, is an open-source transactional key-value database, which was accepted into the CNCF’s project sandbox in August. It is being used by a number of enterprises in China, including the Chinese bike-sharing startup Ofo, according to Aniszczyk.
Another Chinese project, Harbor, originated as an internal VMware Inc. tool in 2014 and was accepted as a CNCF project earlier this year. Harbor is an open-source. cloud-native registry that scans and signs content.
“There’s going to be more technology born dealing with China-scale issues,” Aniszczyk said. “China is our number two contributor to all CNCF projects; it’s very impressive.”
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