Two years ago, my team sat down and asked a straightforward question: Why is installing, upgrading, and deleting applications from the cloud is such a challenge? The same introduction document introduced the desired functionality CNAB hoped to bring: Broadly, CNAB brings several features that aren’t currently in the ecosystem: In the months following the initial announcement, the specification was split into three separate specifications: CNAB Core - addresses 1, 2, and part of 5. Just as it is easy to run an installer on our laptops or put a new app on our phone, it should be easy to install a new cloud application. But our third specification, the CNAB Registry 1.0 Specification, is the last puzzle piece. We believe CNAB represents a new generation of security tooling that reduces risk and increases the fidelity of cloud technologies. Attest (or attach a signature to any moment in the lifecycle of that bundle) and digitally verify that the bundle has achieved that state to control how the bundle can be used. To anyone who’s worked with Kubernetes, that’s an understatement, as Kubernetes can very quickly become quite complex. You can dive right in at cnab.io. We’d love to have you join up, take it for a test drive, and explore the possibilities. True, there are specific services (like PaaS) that make this manageable for a small segment of the ecosystem. Microsoft created the Porter project.
For example, one tool can “claim” ownership over an application deployment, while another tool can access the shared information about that application and how it was deployed. Late last year, the CNAB (Cloud Native Application Bundles) specification was announced - the news made it to TechCrunch and other tech publications, and partner organizations wrote about how they’re using CNAB (for example Docker, Pivotal, or Bitnami). This specification describes how CNAB bundles (packages) are stored, discovered, downloaded, and moved. (One example for this scenario is a team that needs the application definition of a bundle, but already has mechanisms in place for distributing it, and ways of attesting the provenance. Our goal with CNAB is to provide a package management story for the cloud. But it was not necessarily designed to provide a great user experience. Make it completely cloud-agnostic. We have even experimented with a graphical CNAB installer, and have some VS Code extensions to improve the development process. In that case, we can reuse a considerable amount of cloud infrastructure, easily moving packages around–even across air-gapped boundaries. All rights reserved. It is not a platform-specific tool, and developers can bundle applications targeting environments spanning IaaS (like OpenStack or Azure), container orchestrators (like Kubernetes or Nomad), container runtimes (like local Docker or ACI), and cloud platform services (like object storage or Database as a Service). There you will find not only the specifications, the common source libraries (like, ), and our full command-line reference implementation. Finally, thanks to the diligent work of Datadog, the CNAB group is preparing to publish a second specification: The CNAB Security 1.0 Specification. From day one, this has been a goal. Store bundles in repositories for remote installation. Make it extremely easy to use, just like a regular package manager. CNAB Registries - addresses part of 5 and 6. Porter is also open source and is a great starting point if you wish to work with a user-friendly CNAB tool immediately. But when it comes to a high-level solution, we are still left doing the orchestration of things either by hand or with bespoke tools. The core specification is written with air-gapped environments in mind, as is the security specification. Sign and digitally verify a bundle, even when the underlying technology doesn’t natively support it. CNAB is intended to work well in these environments as well. So what does stabilizing the core specification mean for the community? There you will find not only the specifications, the common source libraries (like cnab-go), and our full command-line reference implementation duffle. At the end of last year, they explained how CNAB worked with application templates in, . This was the critical insight that became Cloud Native Application Bundles (CNAB). Using containers, a bit of JSON, and some best-of-breed security infrastructure, we have created a package management standard for the cloud. It should run just as smoothly on Azure, AKS, on-prem OpenStack, and everything else. Also, all other areas depended on the core specification, so it made sense to reach a stability point there, then turn to the other parts of the ecosystem. With this specification, CNAB becomes a compelling method for transporting sophisticated cloud-native applications from network to network–without sacrificing security or requiring copious amounts of manual labor. We hope this will not be the case, and we think that we’ve covered potential issues (adding custom extensions, custom actions, handling image relocation without mutating the bundle, to name a few), but realizing another part of the ecosystem will only work with a future CNAB Core 2.0 is a possibility until those parts reach stability. (Two more sub-specifications followed, for claims and bundle dependencies.). The CNAB specification is developed under an open source model.
In the next article, we will discuss the distribution of CNAB bundles. While the core cloud technologies like virtual machines and object storage have been around for over a decade, and a rich tapestry of cloud infrastructure exists, managing cloud applications remains a challenge.
With this combination of specification and tooling, we’re optimistic that you can get started with CNAB today. But let’s take a step back and recap what problems CNAB is trying to solve: You can read an introduction to CNAB, and here you can find the CNAB announcement blog post. a number of issues have been raised regarding some clarifications, list of issues deferred for a post 1.0 version of the core specification. You can dive right in at, . There is also a list of issues deferred for a post 1.0 version of the core specification - and as the tools using CNAB mature, that list is expected to grow. The CNAB specification is developed under an open source model. But we wanted to make sure we did our due diligence. For Docker, CNAB provides a convenient way to encapsulate applications built using core Docker technology, without requiring the user to learn yet another technology stack. CNAB is designed to operate well in enterprise environments. We had already written a CNAB reference implementation (Duffle) designed to exercise the specification. We have even experimented with a graphical, The Linux Foundation introduces Cloud Engineer Bootcamp for cloud job seekers (ZDNet), Lenovo’s Massive Ubuntu And Red Hat Announcement Levels Up Linux In 2020 (Forbes), Goldman Sachs Open Sources its Data Modeling Platform through FINOS, Introducing the Open Governance Network Model, Why Congress should invest in open-source software (Brookings), Open Source Processes Driving Software-Defined Everything (LinuxInsider), Amundsen: one year later (Lyft Engineering). But we were well aware that Helm is inextricably bound to Kubernetes. This led us to one straightforward question: What if we could find a way to make package management work for the cloud the same way that it works for a local operating system? Finally, CNAB is a community effort, and we would like to thank everyone involved with the project! And then the host environment executes that bundle. That is the vision that CNAB relentlessly pursues. The First Bundle Bringing container magic to cloud-native applications Cloud Native Application Bundles: A Simple Way to Install Software on Kubernetes (or Any Other Runtime) The First Bundle Footage of the first bespoke bundle coming into existance. Along with covering distribution security, this specification also provides a software supply chain security model. After all, we’d built the enormously successful Helm package manager for Kubernetes. We have spent an extra year diving deeper into scenarios and vetting and collaborating popular security products so that it could be accomplished with existing solutions. The CNAB Claims 1.0 Specification describes how CNAB tools can share a common description of their deployed applications. Enumerating the big features, we started to list things we would want to be able to do: The list went on in a similar vein for a while. This team could decide to only implement the CNAB Core specification.).
The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. Docker initially announced their CNAB support for Docker Apps with a great architectural introduction. Manage discrete resources as a single logical unit that comprises an app. This domain was not entirely new ground for us.
Whether you’re focused on running your own apps for your own cloud platform, writing applications for air-gapped networks, or planning to distribute your application to a wide variety of cloud environments, CNAB is a packaging format that can help. As everything from our daily meetings to our kids’ classrooms has gone online, we are reminded daily of what a potent boon cloud technologies have become. The initial security model for CNAB was designed alongside the core specification. Through mixins, Porter can support a vast range of cloud technologies, from Terraform to Helm to Docker Compose, making it easy to tailor a CNAB bundle to your preferred target cloud or technology stack. Over the last few months, we have witnessed first-hand how much the cloud has to offer. We are eagerly pushing these toward completion. So what is CNAB? The core specification covers the following areas: This is the area of CNAB that has seen the most interest so far, and at the beginning of August, a core specification freeze has been instated, stabilizing the core specification even more, and allowing the reference implementation and other tools implementing the specification (such as Porter or Docker App) to implement the latest changes. We need to be able to describe our application as a single artifact, even when it is composed of a variety of cloud technologies; We must be able to provision our applications without having to master dozens of tools; and. Over the last two years, we have refined our model, goals, and features to meet this scenario best. But this doesn’t come without any risks - the most obvious is potentially realizing that the core specifications needs (breaking) changes in order to accommodate distribution or security. It should be just as simple to install a distributed application into your cloud — this is the goal of the Cloud Native Application Bundles (CNAB) project. For Docker, CNAB provides a convenient way to encapsulate applications built using core Docker technology, without requiring the user to learn yet another technology stack. This means that from development through testing, and finally on into release, each step can be verified according to a robust security process. Use and define operational verbs for lifecycle management of an app (install, upgrade, uninstall). Finally, we have one more specification in the works. Do you have a blog post, video, tutorial, demo, or some other neat thing using CNAB that you’d like to share? One of those is how we install, upgrade, and delete applications in the cloud. And this means that CNAB must have a robust “air gap” story.
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