Nearly 85% of enterprises are planning to shift to a cloud-first philosophy by 2025, according to a Gartner survey. The cloud approach enables organizations to offer enhanced customer experiences like mobile payment systems, personalization, and security. To power this wide-scale cloud adoption, businesses will have to use cloud-native applications and platforms. The report further estimates that 95% of the digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms that follow the practices of DevOps, Microservices, Containers, and Continuous Delivery in the next three years. The cultural change is already underway as SlashData recorded 6.8 million cloud-native developers by December 2021, a significant increase from 4.7 million developers in May 2020.
For many organizations moving to a cloud-native ecosystem has been a challenge since most of their solutions or services are not built for purely cloud infrastructure. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) was started to ‘provide support, oversight, and direction for fast-growing, cloud-native projects.’
What is CNCF?
CNCF is an open-source software foundation that facilitates the development of cloud-native solutions and enables collaboration through an end-user community. Kubernetes is said to be the reason for its inception. When Google couldn’t find any foundation to hand over its open-source orchestration project Borg, it collaborated with Linux Foundation to establish CNCF in 2015. Borg was later renamed Kubernetes and saw many other projects joining the foundation.
Currently, CNCF houses 25 projects across three different levels of maturity – Sandbox projects that are still in the early stages of code maturity, Incubation projects are those that are being used for production by a minimum of three companies and see the significant community support, and Graduation projects that have documented processes for governance and committers. CNCF also removes projects that have become obsolete or replaced by a better alternative.
Ways to participate in CNCF projects
Open source communities are built on the foundations of inclusion and collaboration. The CNCF community is no different. It enables you to participate in the conversations, contribute in multiple ways, and help in making it a breeding ground of talent and passion. In short, it is a hub for developers, coders, engineers, and software experts to associate to further the cloud-native industry.
There are multiple ways to participate in a project and make your contribution to the open-source community. If you’re wondering how and where to get started, below are some of the options.
1. Be a champion ambassador for the cloud-native ecosystem
CNCF provides a unique program called Cloud Native Ambassadors (CNAs). It enables you to channel your passion and drive for cloud-native technologies and solutions to help others.
If you’re a blogger or an influencer and recognized for your cloud-native expertise, CNCF gives you resources to promote the cloud-native ecosystem, train and mentor the community and contribute to the projects. These ambassadors are empowered to organize meetups, hackathons, and other such sessions.
2. Contribute to source code
Contributing to an open-source project in the form of source code is one of the most obvious ways of participation. However, you will have to follow the guidelines provided under the governance rules for every project. The CNCF project communities will have a hierarchical structure to streamline and standardize source code contributions.
The Kubernetes project has multiple project groups with specific purposes and guidelines. These communities follow a standard set of principles like openness, welcoming and respect, transparent and accessible, and merit-based.
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
The Kubernetes project has a SIG – collaboration forum – for a specific focus topic like documentation. Each group will have members from different organizations with shared code ownership and distributed decision structure. SIGs are further divided into multiple subprojects with their contributors and owners.
For topics that are spread across different SIGs, you have Working Groups that enable discussions and collaboration. They formed with a short-term goal mostly to explore a problem or find a solution and disbanded once their purpose was achieved.
For association over topics that need to be discreet, you have committees. However, these are not open membership groups. A steering committee picks members of the committees to discuss issues like Security or the Code of Conduct.
3. Attend events and network within the community
CNCF regularly organizes a variety of large-scale events like conferences, hackathons, and roadshows to bring its community together. You can make contributions to such events through paper submissions, panel discussions, and Birds of Feather discussions.
Besides its flagship conferences like KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, CNCF also conducts periodic roadshows, where you can participate as a sponsor or technical content delivery.
In addition, you can set up local meetups with the open-source community to facilitate collaboration and foster newer members of the CNCF. These meetups can be as small as monthly discussion groups or local roadshows. For larger shows, you can collaborate with the CNCF’s marketing committee and provide branding material. Your marketing collateral can also be displayed on the website.
4. Become a certified administrator
The CNCF has multiple training courses and a certification program called Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Associate (KCNA). It features different certifications like Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) and Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD). This training and certification program is aimed at helping you further your CNCF credentials and gain expertise within the cloud-native landscape.
You can also make contributions to the certification creation by suggesting ideas and improvements to enhance the overall experience.
5. Write documentation or glossary for a project
One critical aspect of software development that most developers neglect is documentation. It helps beginners of a project to understand and effectively utilize the projects. Therefore, documentation like user guides, presentations, glossaries, and architectures are very important for any development process. You can make a significant contribution to open source by undertaking documentation maintenance tasks.
You can begin with making contributions to the project documents, and – if you want – transition to code development.
Being a part of an open-source community, specifically, CNCF is an amazing thing. Besides advancing the industry, you do your part in creating real-world platforms for IT professionals to share their expertise, learn from fellow participants’ experiences and make an overall difference. As discussed earlier, you don’t have to be an expert coder, you can contribute in any capacity – blogging, writing technical documentation, and sponsoring applications or events.
As long as you are making a positive influence in the community, your contributions make a difference.
If you’d like to know more about the CNCF, check out our recent interview with Taylor Dolezal, Head of Ecosystem at the CNCF.
If you have questions related to this topic, feel free to book a meeting with one of our solutions experts, mail to email@example.com.