When AWS today became a full-fledged member of the container standards body, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, it represented a significant milestone. By joining Google, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and just about every company that matters in the space, AWS has acknowledged that when it comes to container management, standards matter.
AWS has been known to go the proprietary route, after all. When you’re that big and powerful, and control vast swaths of market share as AWS does, you can afford to go your own way from time to time. Containers is an area it hasn’t controlled, though. That belongs to Kubernetes, the open source container management tool originally developed inside Google.
AWS was smart enough to recognize that Kubernetes is becoming an industry standard in itself, and that when it comes to build versus buy versus going open source, AWS wisely recognized that battle has been fought and won.
Once it recognized Google’s dominance in container management, the next logical step was to join the CNCF and adhere to the same container standards the entire industry is using. Sometimes it’s better to switch than fight, and this was clearly one of those times.
What we have now is a clearer path to containerization, a technology that is all the rage inside large companies — for many good reasons. They allow you to break down the application into discrete manageable chunks, making updates a heck of a lot easier, and clearly dividing developer tasks and operations tasks in a DevOps model.
Standards provide a common basis for managing containers. Everyone can build their own tools on top of them. Google already has when it built Kubernetes, Red Hat has OpenShift, Microsoft makes Azure Container Service — and so forth and so on.
Companies like standards because they know the technology is going to work a certain way, regardless of who built it. Each vendor provides a similar set of basic services, then differentiates itself based on what it builds on top.
Technology tends to take off once a standard is agreed upon by the majority of the industry. Look at the World Wide Web. It has taken off because there is a standard way of building web sites. When companies agree to the building blocks, everything else seems to fall into place.
A lack of standards has traditionally held back technology. Having common building blocks just make sense. Sometimes a clear market leader doesn’t always agree. Today AWS showed why it matters, even to them.