Microsoft, Alibaba team up on open application model

Microsoft and Alibaba have developed a way to improve collaboration between application developers, operators and infrastructure teams in a new project that could speed up deployment of applications in Kubernetes.

In what the two tech giants termed as the Open Application Model (OAM), developers will be able define their application components without considering operational details, minimising any ambiguity over which capabilities operators should apply to an application that is being deployed.

By separating the description of an application from the details of how the application is deployed and managed by infrastructure teams, developers will be able to focus on the key elements of their application. These include information on which parameters of their applications can or cannot be rewritten by operators to fit different runtime environments, for example.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Zhang Lei, a staff engineer at Alibaba Cloud, said the OAM will be useful to independent software vendors that want an easy way to package and deliver applications to a variety of cloud and mobile platforms.

Alibaba has been using the OAM since the start of 2019 to deploy internal applications, and is also migrating older applications to the new model, Zhang said. He added that the OAM will also let cloud suppliers handle the deployment of applications on behalf of developers in future.

“Developers shouldn’t have to care about operations,” Zhang said, adding that the OAM will pave the way for NoOps, where the IT environment is completely automated and abstracted from the underlying infrastructure.

The OAM is currently being developed under an Open Web Foundation agreement, and the two tech giants plan to contribute the specification to a vendor-neutral foundation to enable open governance and collaboration.

More information on the OAM can be found in this blog post by Microsoft and Alibaba Cloud.

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