Zhang Lei, a new CNCF TOC member of Alibaba: why is “cloud native” attractive to cloud computing ecology?

Time:2021-9-17

Introduction: on February 2, 2021 local time, the cloud native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the world’s top open source community, officially announced the re-election results of its new technical oversight committee (TOC). Zhang Lei, a senior technical expert of Alibaba cloud, was selected as the only representative from China among the 11 seats of this TOC.

Zhang Lei, a new CNCF TOC member of Alibaba: why is

CNCF said in its official announcement that Zhang Lei was selected because of his outstanding contributions in the field of kubernetes: “Zhang Lei is the co defender of kubernetes community and the co chair of CNCF app delivery sig. He leads kubernetes and large-scale cluster management system in Alibaba.”

The only current CNCF TOC member from China

Founded in July 2015, CNCF is subordinate to the Linux foundation. Focusing on “cloud native” service cloud computing, CNCF is committed to maintaining and integrating open source technologies and supporting the arrangement of container microservice architecture applications. At present, CNCF has more than 300 member companies, including AWS, azure, Google, Alibaba cloud and other large cloud computing manufacturers. CNCF’s Technical Supervision Committee is composed of 11 representatives with rich technical knowledge and industry background to provide technical leadership for the cloud native community.

Since 2017, Alibaba has invested a lot in the field of cloud native technology, deeply participated in the development and maintenance of etcd, kubernetes, containerd and other top open source projects, and completed the self upgrading of the overall infrastructure system through the cloud native technology stack, such as independent open source Dubbo, rocketmq and other star projects, Donate to the Apache foundation and graduate as a top project; Spring cloud Alibaba has been open source for two years and has become the most active spring cloud implementation with the best development experience; Dragonfly was promoted to CNCF incubation project, and openyurt and openkruise entered CNCF sandbox; Jointly released the world’s first open application model OAM with Microsoft cloud to jointly lead the cloud native standard application delivery ecosystem, and then launched kubevela, the core engine of cloud native platform based on OAM, filling the gap of kubernetes ecology in the field of building standard application delivery system; Jointly with Nanjing University, the cloud native infrastructure project fluid has been opened source, which complements the important components of CNCF panorama that allow big data and AI to embrace cloud native; Serverless devs developer platform source, becoming the first serverless tool stationed in CNCF landscape tools in China.

By the end of 2020, Alibaba had entered CNCF landscape with more than 10 projects; The contribution to the kubernetes project also ranks among the top 10 in the world.

Zhang Lei from Alibaba cloud has become the only member from China in the current CNCF TOC. Born in 1989, he is one of the youngest early maintainers of kubernetes community. He has initiated and participated in the design of several basic features of kubernetes, such as CRI (container runtime interface), equivalent class scheduling, topology resource management, etc. Due to his continuous influence in kubernetes community, Zhang Lei was elected official ambassador of CNCF in 2016 and served as kubecon reviewer and keynote speaker for several consecutive sessions. In 2019, Zhang Lei was elected as the co chair of CNCF application delivery field group with the highest vote, which is the only Chinese co chair among the seven CNCF field groups so far.

Zhang Lei, a new CNCF TOC member of Alibaba: why is

Zhang Lei, senior technical expert of Alibaba cloud and member of CNCF Technical Supervision Committee

After joining Alibaba cloud, Zhang Lei focused on the design of Alibaba cloud native application infrastructure and participated in the maintenance of the largest public cloud container cluster in China. His “application centric” standard application delivery system has spawned a series of forward-looking open source technologies in the field of cloud native application management.

In addition, Zhang Lei also led the team and Microsoft cloud CTO office to jointly put forward the “open application model” open source project (OAM), which is the industry’s first standard model and framework project in the field of cloud native application delivery and management. It has quickly become the basic model for more than 10 enterprises at home and abroad, including MasterCard and the fourth paradigm, to build cloud native application platforms, It was also approved as “General requirements and reference framework for cloud computing open architecture” by the Institute of information and communications of the Ministry of industry and information technology, selected as “top cloud native technology trends from 2020” by the well-known American science and technology media thenewstack and “top ten cutting-edge open source projects in 2020” by InfoQ.

Zhang Lei: the new application delivery method brought by cloud native is becoming the mainstream

From what CNCF, Alibaba cloud and Zhang Lei have been focusing on, it is not difficult to see a clear development trend, that is, today, no one will question the rationality of a platform team adopting kubernetes as its own infrastructure. In fact, the kubernetes project in 2020 is close to completing its most important mission, that is, to bring a platform layer abstraction for cloud computing infrastructure, which allows the platform team to construct “everything” based on this.

However, what is “cloud native”? Why is it attractive to cloud computing ecology? Where should China’s native cloud go? Let’s listen to Zhang Lei, a new member of CNCF TOC.

Q: Congratulations on becoming one of the 11 TOC members of CNCF worldwide! Let me introduce myself to you first?

Lei Zhang: I am currently responsible for the technical work related to the cloud native application platform infrastructure at Alibaba cloud. At the same time, I am also participating in and promoting the construction of core open source projects of Alibaba, such as OAM / kubevela, openkruise and openyurt. Before joining Alibaba cloud, I mainly worked in the upstream of kubernetes community. I was one of the early initiators and maintainers of CRI, scheduler and other core features, and a member of katacantains project team. Recently, we are working with CNCF TOC and more than 40 participating companies to promote the establishment of a vendor neutral gitops application delivery working group.

Q: How do you view the development and evolution of cloud native in recent years?

Lei Zhang: with the great popularity of cloud native technology, we have seen that this new application delivery method is becoming the mainstream direction of building application platforms in the industry in combination with key technologies such as “standard application model” and “progressive release based on mesh”.

Today, the well-known concept of cloud native is essentially a set of best practices and methodology of “reducing costs and increasing efficiency for users by using cloud computing technology”. Therefore, the term cloud native has been in a process of continuous self evolution and innovation since its birth, growth, and today’s great popularity.

Whether it is the great success of container technology represented by docker in 2014 or after 2019   The rapid rise of container choreography technology represented by kubernetes, and today cloud native is almost “all inclusive”, which is a true portrayal of cloud native concept from concept to practice, and then precipitates new ideas and architecture process. This process of continuous evolution based on a core concept and gradually affecting all aspects of the whole cloud computing field is a main melody behind the development and growth of cloud native ecology in recent years.

Q: What are the main changes you saw in the cloud native field last year? What impact do you think it will have?

Lei Zhang: in 2020, we can see that the rapid popularization of cloud native is bringing changes based on “cloud” to more and more fields, and these fields are quickly integrated into the cloud computing capacity pool through the cloud native system, which directly brings great value of “cost reduction and efficiency enhancement” to end users. Just take the CNCF open source community as an example. In 2020, Alibaba cloud entered the CNCF sandbox with the openyurt edge Container Project (innovation in the edge field) and the openkruise workload management project (sinking of application management capability), and the virtual cluster (innovation in the serverless infrastructure field) technology became the official sub project of kubernetes, More core projects such as OAM / kubevela (innovation in application delivery + capability sinking) are being incubated. The emergence and popularization of these open source technologies not only provide a crucial traction for the sustainable development and evolution of cloud native ecology, but also make the core goal of “releasing cloud computing dividends” a reality in different fields.

The cloud native in 2020 is still the main thread of the fastest development in the whole cloud computing ecology, and with this development momentum, cloud native has to start thinking about its next development space in the new year. In fact, we can already see that various manufacturers and teams are actively making efforts and exploring in different fields.

Q: Where do you think cloud native will go in the future? 

Lei ZhangToday, the development trend of cloud native technology is getting closer and closer to the “software naturally grows on the cloud”, but it also exposes that the original cloud native technology chassis pays too much attention to infrastructure abstraction and management and ignores many problems brought by end-user experience and technology. In the changes in the cloud native field in 2020, we can see that the cloud native community is gradually moving closer to the end user along the path of “capability sinking and value floating”. This also explains why after kubernetes, service mesh is rapidly changing middleware and microservice governance technology, gitops is having a crucial impact on the field of continuous delivery, and OAM and dapr are further solving the problems of application abstract model and service access model.

We expect that in the next few years, the inherent agility and user stickiness of cloud native system will further popularize to more vertical fields such as database, AI and edge with the huge capacity pool of cloud computing, and then more widely affect the deployment and distribution of cloud computing underlying infrastructure and cloud applications. It may even become the most realistic portrayal of “cloud computing everywhere” in the future.

Q: After entering TOC, what areas will you focus on?

Lei Zhang: next, together with CNCF TOC, I will continue to focus on the upper technology fields that bring direct value to end users, such as application management and delivery, cloud native programming model and cloud developer experience, so as to better incubate or absorb more potential open source projects in these fields into CNCF. At the same time, TOC will also focus on the longer term, especially the underlying key technologies that are rapidly rising recently, such as webassembly and ebpf. So if the most famous project in CNCF is no longer kubernetes in the near future, we must not be surprised.

Q: Do you have any views and suggestions on how to promote the development of cloud primary ecology in China’s local environment?

Lei Zhang: in fact, in CNCF ecology today, we are gradually forming a very good understanding that the cloud native community with the best popularity and the most solid landing effect in the world today is China’s cloud native community, rather than using kubernetes’s Google or AWS. The deep talent reserve and rapid growth scene and environment we have today are not only unique conditions that make cloud native participants all over the world envy, but also one of the important reasons for the rapid development of domestic cloud native ecology and the maximum release of cloud native dividends.

On this basis, as a member of the domestic cloud native ecology, we should actually be more bold to innovate, not just follow, but also make our technology move towards the international stage, and actively take advantage of CNCF, which has a certain global influence Moreover, we also have a neutral organization with a certain voice to build our own voice system and actively absorb users, participants and contributors from North America and Europe into our community. Of course, there must be the full cooperation of manufacturers, community members and open source project maintainers in various cloud native fields in China. My personal expectation is that the kubecon summit with fully localized operation and the cross company and cross regional cloud native programming marathon will soon blossom and bear fruit in domestic communities.

Sustained vitality is the source of “cloud native” attraction to cloud computing ecology

What is cloud primordial? Since the emergence of the term cloud native, it has been a puzzle often raised by many engineers, teams and enterprises who first came into contact with the concept of cloud native.

Zhang Lei, a new CNCF TOC member of Alibaba: why is

In fact, as a set of best practices and methodologies of “using cloud computing technology to reduce costs and increase efficiency for users”, cloud native is in a process of continuous self evolution and innovation. As Zhang Lei wrote in an article: this sustained vitality of “never having a precise definition” is the source of the attraction of “cloud native” to the cloud computing ecology.

“The development of cloud native needs to rely on the continuous thinking, precipitation and re innovation of the whole cloud native community for supplement and correction, so as to gradually ‘float up’ the technical value of cloud native, produce direct value and body feeling to end users, and make the construction of a simple and easy-to-use cloud native platform no longer” sunny spring and snow “, which is what I have been insisting on.” Zhang Lei said.

Author: Alibaba cloud original assistant
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