By Darshan Puttannaiah

Is Pivotal Cloud Foundry dead?

Since being acquired by VMWare in 2019, many say Pivotal Cloud Foundry is on the decline, with Kubernetes taking its place. But the switch from PCF to Kubernetes can be like going from Apple to Android. Thankfully, Google Cloud’s PCF alternative for Kubernetes Kf provides a path for migrating to Kubernetes while keeping everything developers love about Cloud Foundry. 

In this article, we’ll break down:

  • Why developers are moving away from PCF
  • What Kf is and the main benefits
  • How Cloud Foundry and Kf services compare

Let’s dive in.

Why Developers Are Moving Away from Pivotal Cloud Foundry

Before unpacking why developers are moving away from Pivotal Cloud Foundry, it’s important to understand how it became a popular cloud-native platform in the first place. 

It started with the open-source project Cloud Foundry. An agnostic container-based, platform-as-a-service solution for teams of any size, Cloud Foundry was built by developers in 2009. It was designed to support the whole application development lifecycle, from the beginning stages of development all the way to deployment. 

The developer community liked Cloud Foundry mainly for its flexibility, portability, and efficiency – it allowed teams to work smarter and faster without locking them into a specific vendor. In short, it was a platform made by developers for developers. 

But you might be wondering: What is the difference between Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Cloud Foundry? Pivotal Cloud Foundry is the commercial offering of Cloud Foundry with extra features and capabilities built on top of it. It provides all the benefits of Cloud Foundry plus components for implementing enterprise-level software. 

However, since being acquired by VMWare, many worry that Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s heyday is ending. One of the reasons for this is that VMWare decided to sunset Pivotal Web Services (PCF’s serverless solution). The Cloud Foundry community as a whole has also struggled to define their move to Kubernetes. And while the PCF licensing costs for on-premises deployment could be justified at one point in time, they don’t make sense for the cloud. 

Instead, developers are adopting Kubernetes as the standard for container orchestration deployment, which eliminates PCF licensing costs and simplifies cloud and on-premises operations.

What Is Kf?

While the development community is increasingly embracing Kubernetes, the process of migrating applications from Cloud Foundry to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Anthos can disrupt developer workflows, especially for those accustomed to the PCF interface. That’s why Google Cloud created Kf, which offers developers a Cloud Foundry-like interface and experience to minimize disruptions during the migration. 

With Kf, developers see little to no changes to source code and workflows, improved logging and metrics, and the ability to build custom dashboards. 

Main features include:

  • Real-time Stackdriver logging
  • Custom monitoring and alerting
  • Metrics-based autoscaling
  • Kubernetes tooling
  • GitOps integration
  • Self-service provisioning
  • Managed backing services

Cloud Foundry vs. Kf Services: How Do They Compare?

As said, Kf offers developers the Cloud Foundry experience, but how do PCF and Kf stack up against each other? Below is Google Cloud’s side-by-side comparison of Cloud Foundry services and components that Kf integrates with on Google Kubernetes Engine.

Service CategoryServicePCFKf
PlatformInfrastructure OrchestratorBOSH Google Kubernetes Engine
PaaSCF Appliance Runtime (CFAR)Kf
Data ManagementGoogle Cloud Service BrokerGoogle Cloud Service Broker TileGoogle Cloud Service Broker Helm Chart
AWS Service BrokerAWS Service Broker TileAWS Service Broker Helm Chart
MySQLMySQL TileMinibroker
MongoDBMongoDB TileMinibroker
RedisRedis TileMinibroker
EurekaSpring Cloud Services TileService Discovery
Spring Cloud ConfigSpring Cloud Services TileSpring Cloud Config Application
Operations ToolingContinuous Integration (CI)Concourse TileConcourse Helm Chart
LoggingGoogle CloudGoogle Cloud Firehose NozzleCloud Logging
Elastic Elastic Firehouse NozzleElastic Stack Agent
Splunk Splunk Firehose NozzleSplunk Connect
MetricsCF App MetricsGKE Metrics

Ready to make the switch from Pivotal Cloud Foundry to Kubernetes? Talk to our Google Cloud Experts about using Google Kubernetes Engine for implementing Kubernetes in your organization. 

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