EMC Shows Developers “The Way” to the Cloud

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.  March 25, 2015

In technology, as in other fields, details count and meaning can sometimes hinge on a single letter. For example, being committed to a technology like open source is easy enough to understand, but becoming an open source “committer” is something else entirely. Why that’s the case and what it has to do with EMC’s new Cloud Foundry Dojo in Cambridge, Massachusetts is worth considering.

Open Source Committers

Achieving open source “committer” status is no easy thing. In short, open source communities and projects use the term to denote official or officially sanctioned approval. As the Apache Foundation notes, while an open source contributor can create a patch and submit it for active review and (hopefully) eventual commitment to the project, a committer has access rights to a project’s repository to write (as well as read) the source, can create a local patch and commit it for use, and review and commit patches created by others.

That doesn’t mean that the work of committers is sacrosanct. It is still reviewed but usually after the fact by other vigilant committers. But by concept and practice, becoming an approved committer reflects a higher level of involvement, experience and technical competence than what is expected from contributors.

Easing the way to Cloud Foundry

What this has to do with EMC and the Cloud Foundry Foundation is fairly straightforward. In short, the Foundation recognized that since it can take a year or more to achieve open source committer status, finding a way to accelerate the process would benefit both developers and the project. So the Foundation created the Cloud Foundry Dojo, a 6 to12 week program that allows developers to work closely with qualified Cloud Foundry engineers.

Why Dojo? First, the effort is derived from the Pivotal Labs Dojo program that educated hundreds of developers about that company’s technical ecosystem. But as Brian Gallagher, president of EMC’s Cloud Management division noted in a blog post, dojo means “the place of the way” and commonly describes martial arts training facilities where students work closely with a teacher, or sensei, who imparts experience, skill and wisdom.

Pairing developers with experienced sensei engineers to work on Cloud Foundry projects also delivers significant practical benefits; student developers can master Cloud Foundry and achieve committer status in as little as six weeks, a small fraction of the time usually required.

The EMC Dojo

What about EMC? Besides being a founding Platinum Member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation (along with HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP and VMware), the company has become the first vendor to announce the creation of a Cloud Foundry Dojo program. EMC expects its new Cloud Foundry Dojo in Cambridge, Mass. to be fully online this summer, reflecting its intention to be a major contributor to the open source community and to help accelerate the industry movement to a truly portable cloud ecosystem.

EMC believes that the effort reflects the significant impact and momentum of cloud computing, along with the need to adopt flexible architectures and development models. As Gallagher noted, “Like many game-changing technologies, there are early iterations and best practices that tend to dominate, sometimes lingering long after their shelf life has expired. Closed cloud frameworks and APIs (ironically [used] in most “public clouds”) are a perfect example as they lock content and applications into a single cloud model.”

According to Gallagher and EMC, open source platforms like Cloud Foundry hold the key to creating “applications that can be developed once and utilize the infrastructure services of a range of public and private clouds without tight coupling.”

Final analysis

In its short existence, cloud computing has had a significant, even profound impact on businesses, fundamentally altering the ways organizations adopt and utilize IT assets. Many of those changes have been beneficial, but some have been less so, including the reliance on proprietary technologies that some public cloud vendors have used to cement their relationships with clients. Such approaches are not only potentially damaging to businesses, but they also undermine the core value of cloud itself, transforming it into a fanciful variant of the outdated technologies companies are attempting to abandon.

That’s why open source efforts, including Cloud Foundry, are so important. Most critically, Cloud Foundry leverages open frameworks and application programming interfaces (APIs) that support application and content portability from cloud-to-cloud. In rapidly shifting markets like public, private and hybrid cloud, open technologies help customers maintain the value of their investments and also help ensure that cloud vendors stay honest.

The rapid evolution of cloud also casts light on the fundamental value of the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s Dojo program and EMC’s decision to open its Dojo in Cambridge this summer. The effort certainly reflects the company’s long-term cloud strategy and investments, but it should also deliver tangible value to the enterprise customers that are actively developing and deploying cloud environments. Helping those organizations’ developers get up and stay up to speed by working shoulder to shoulder with sensei engineers will help EMC and the Foundation prove the long term value of Cloud Foundry and the Dojo program.

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