The dominance of cloud computing is always increasing. The popularity and multiple advantages it provides in terms of storage, monitoring, faster access, scalability and much more, has literally boosted cloud computing as the prefered tool.
When newer technologies were introduced, the cloud computing adapted to perform better, one such feature was the ability of running application services as packages or “container”. Containerization platform was made popular with the introduction of Docker. It made creating, deploying, and run applications as containers easier. From Gmail to YouTube to the Search, everything runs in containers.
A container may seem similar to a virtual machine but it is different. Containers are typically isolated from each other and bundle their own application, tools, libraries and configuration files. Containers run on the host operating system and kernel unlike virtual machines that run using a separate operating system on the host computer, therefore results in better performance.
The Universal standard
With the widespread adoption of cloud services and containers, operating across different platforms have become more complicated. As organizations adopt cloud-native applications and infrastructures for setting up modern software environments, a standard for the defining and packaging these multi-service, multi-format distributed applications were in dire need. To address these issues, Docker and Microsoft collaborated together to introduce a new standard for running and managing distributed applications called the Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB).
It is an open source package format specification that facilitates the bundling, installing and managing container-native apps and their services. It mainly aims to reduce the complexity of running multiple services packaged together. CNAB is cloud-agnostic by design, which means that it is interoperable among various systems. The specifications of CNAB has been posted on Github.
It works with almost everything from Azure to on-prem OpenStack, from Kubernetes to Swarm, and from Ansible to Terraform. It can execute on a variety of platforms such as a public cloud, an air-gapped network, or an IoT environment. CNAB is a combination of multiple technologies namely JSON, Docker containers and OpenPGP encryption. Partners working on the CNAB other than Docker and Microsoft includes Bitnami and HashiCorp.
Some of the features of CNAB includes:
Managing of discrete resources as a single logical unit that comprises an app.
Defining and usage of operational verbs for lifecycle management of an app.
Signing and verifying a bundle digitally, even when there is no underlying native technology support.
Enabling export of bundle and all dependencies to reliably reproduce in another environment, including offline environments.
Storage of bundles in repositories for remote installation.
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