Building Cloud Foundry On-Demand Services Just Got a Lot Easier

July 12, 2017 Jeff Kelly

I recently started using a new note taking app on my iPhone. It had a nice, clean user interface, and it was dead simple to create new notes and add to existing ones. But it lacked some important features and capabilities (important to me, at least.) The app didn’t have a desktop counterpart and the process for sharing notes with colleagues was convoluted. There was no way to organize notes by topic or tags, either. It didn’t take long before I deleted the app from my phone.

A less-than full-featured app, or service, that doesn’t fit into my daily workflow isn’t one I’m likely to stick with for the long term. The same is true for enterprise operators and developers. Operators want services that are easy to set up, manage and troubleshoot. Developers want services that are robust, easy-to-access and support modern development methods. If you’re an ISV and your services don’t match these descriptions, gaining traction with operators and developers and getting them to actually pay for your services is likely to be an uphill battle. That’s why we’re excited to announce the availability of the Pivotal Cloud Foundry On-Demand Services SDK.

The On-Demand Services SDK, which is the same tool Pivotal engineers use, makes it significantly simpler and faster for ISVs to build easy-to-consume, full-featured services and make them available to Cloud Foundry operators and developers. Thanks to integration with BOSH 2.0, it removes much of the complexity associated with rolling your own on-demand Cloud Foundry services, such as dealing with networking considerations and infrastructure provisioning, so ISVs can more quickly develop and iterate on their services.

We built the On-Demand Services SDK based on feedback from customers. Developers told us they wanted the ability to quickly spin up dedicated instances of any given platform service - whether from Pivotal itself or one of our many partners - running on dedicated resources, removing common multi-tenancy issues like noisy neighbors. The benefits don’t stop with developers though. On-demand services built with the new SDK allow operators to manage these dedicated instances in isolation, reducing the impact to application teams when performing administrative tasks. And for our partners, on-demand services are far stickier than other types of platform services and help ISVs turn their services into real products that enterprise operators and developers are willing to pay money for.

“Modern software development is all about removing friction and focusing on business value,” said Alex Ley, a Cloud Foundry product manager at Pivotal. “The On-Demand Services SDK removes a lot of the friction ISVs would otherwise face when building on-demand services from scratch. The resulting on-demand services are easier for operators and developers to manage and use, letting them focus on creating great software for users instead of worrying about infrastructure and other concerns.”

So just what are these features and capabilities that on-demand services offer operators and developers?

  • On-demand services give operators the ability to define the service plans that developers will have access to via Cloud Foundry. These plans define an allowable range of VM memory, CPU sizes, and configuration settings.

  • Operators can create dedicated networks on the IaaS of their choice to host any required number of service instance VMs with one-click setup in Ops Manager.

  • Developers can create dedicated VM instances of on-demand services for each of their applications, instead of relying on multi-tenant instances and the potential performance implications. This is often a requirement for mission-critical enterprise applications.

  • With on-demand services, both operators and developers have easy access to log files and related performance metrics to better understand how applications are being used.

Aerospike, a provider of an in-memory NoSQL database for extremely low-latency applications, is one company whose engineers have already used the On-Demand Services SDK to build an on-demand service for Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Jeff Boone, a member of the technical staff at Aerospike, said the On-Demand Services SDK reduced the time it would have taken Aerospike engineers to roll-their-own on-demand service by about a third because “a lot of the core infrastructure of the tile itself is already implemented.” Developers can now bind their Pivotal Cloud Foundry applications to dedicated Aerospike instances with just a few clicks.

Hazelcast and Crunchy Data also used the On-Demand Services SDK to build their latest Cloud Foundry services. Four of Pivotal’s own services - Pivotal Cloud Cache, RabbitMQ for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, MySQL for Pivotal Cloud Foundry v2 and Redis for Pivotal Cloud Foundry - likewise were built with the On-Demand Services SDK.

Another important point is that the On-Demand Services SDK is an open source project. This means ISVs can take advantage of the SDK to build on-demand services without speaking to or (more importantly!) paying Pivotal for the privilege. And on-demand services built using the SDK are portable between different versions of Cloud Foundry, such as Pivotal Cloud Foundry, IBM BlueMix, SAP Cloud Platform and, of course, open source Cloud Foundry. There is no risk of vendor lock-in. The SDK is publicly available today on GitHub under the Apache 2.0 license.

Our goal with the On-Demand Services SDK is to make it as easy and as fast as possible for ISVs to build compelling on-demand services that enterprise operators and developers will pay for and can rely on to support their enterprise-grade applications and software. As an open source tool, there’s virtually no barrier to entry for ISVs. Check it out today and turn your Cloud Foundry services into revenue-generating products.

About the Author

Jeff Kelly

Jeff Kelly is a Principal Product Marketing Manager at Pivotal Software. He spends his time learning and writing about how leading enterprises are tapping the cloud, data and modern application development to transform how the world builds software. Prior to joining Pivotal, Jeff was the lead industry analyst covering Big Data analytics at Wikibon, an open source research and advisory firm. Before that, Jeff covered data warehousing, business analytics and other IT topics as a reporter and editor at TechTarget. He received his B.A. in American studies from Providence College and his M.A. in journalism from Northeastern University.

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