Connections Pink and container orchestration using CfC

A while ago I started dabbling with Docker after reading some great blogs about ELK by Klaus Bild and Christoph Stoettner thinking I could do with a tool like ELK to analyse log files and to give me something tangible to work with whilst learning about Docker.

After a lot of hard learning and some frustrating hours I got my head around containers and how they could be used to my advantage and got ELK running natively on Ubuntu and then on my work Windows 7 laptop.

A few months before Connect 2017 news was leaking about Connections Pink and its architecture and how the applications will run within containers. Recently Jason Gary Roy held a webinar (Open Mic Webcast: Think Pink – The Future of IBM Connections – 07 March 2017) replaying some of his slides from Connect 2017 and in the video he mentions (briefly) CfC in combination with Docker and containers.

I asked the question in the IBM Connections Community Skype chat and a few people told me that CfC was an IBM product called IBM Spectrum Conductor for Containers. I looked through the community for CfC and realised how important having an orchestration tool is for running multiple containers and scaling for high availability. This was a long way away from running three containers on my laptop.

Installing CfC was pretty easy and well documented in the CfC community. Installation wise you need to install on Ubuntu 16.04 or RHEL although I am sure CentOS will work. I’ll get to that next week.

What you end up with is a rather nice UI which does many of the hard things for you such as networking, setting up persistent storage for your containers, moving applications to other nodes, automatic scaling when demand requires and many more.

What I also liked is that it acts as a private repository for your containers avoiding you needing to push to Docker Hub for storage.

In the latest version you can install on a single node which is great for testing purposes but it also allows you to add and remove worker nodes when you want to branch out.

I asked in the CfC Slack channel what the future looks like for CfC because if it requires a license then it is another hurdle to overcome when selling in Connections. The response I got was:

“We are intending to keep providing a free version that customer can use and deploy as it is a packaging of open-source. Business discussion on what to do beyond that are still ongoing so I can’t comment. Options include providing commercial support or additional add-ons around the open-source for a commercial product. Right now this is a community effort, and we are currently looking  technical feedback  and understanding of what use cases people would like to use CfC for.  Looking forward to  your participation.”

Since the product is built on the following open technologies I would hope that a free option remains available going forward.

Another other benefit for using CfC is that IBM are using it for Pink. I assume that most of the documentation referring to orchestration of the containers will reference CfC in some form. Getting to know it now, I hope, will make deploying Pink containers easier.

Thanks to Michele Buccarello for answering my questions.

CwC has been built with below individual components

Core component:

  • Kubernetes and Mesosphere API/CLI
  • GUI
  • Installer for HA
  • Authentication through LDAP
  • An App store
  • A Private image registry

Sample applications:

  • Frontend
  • Liberty
  • Nginx
  • Redis
  • Tomcat

Built in Network

  • Flannel
  • Calico

Built in persistent Storage

  • NFS
  • Hostpath
  • GlusterFs

Supported CPU Architecture

  • PowerPC LE
  • x86

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