Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud team up on open standard for Kubernetes applications

Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud put their collective weight behind a new standard for developing cloud-native applications with Kubernetes. (Pixabay)

With Kubernetes far and away the leading container orchestration environment, Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud are forming a new open standard.

Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud have teamed up to create the Open Application Model (OAM) standard for building cloud-native applications with Kubernetes. OAM describes a model where developers are responsible for defining application components.  

The goal of OAM, which is a project under the Open Web Foundation, is to make simple applications easy and complex applications manageable.

"OAM is a specification for describing applications so that the application description is separated from the details of how the application is deployed onto and managed by the infrastructure," according to a blog by Microsoft. "This separation of concerns is helpful for multiple reasons. In the real world, every Kubernetes cluster is different, from ingress to CNI to service mesh. Separating the application definition from the operational details of the cluster enables application developers to focus on the key elements of their application rather than the operational details of where it deploys."

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Separating the "concerns" allows platform architects to develop re-usable components and for application developers to focus on integrating those components with their code to build applications.

In OAM, an application is made up of several concepts, including the components that make up the application and the traits that describe the characteristics of the application environment, like capabilities such as auto-scaling and ingress.

The initial implementation of OAM, which is called Rudr, is built on top of Kubernetes while the Open Application Model itself isn't tightly bound to Kubernetes.

In the blog, Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud said the goal was to bring OAM into a vendor-neutral foundation to enable open governance and collaboration.