Cloud Foundry is a fast-growing open source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). It has an impressive array of Foundation members/contributors including Pivotal, Intel, SAP, IBM, Hortonworks, Docker, and many more. I’ve spent the past few months building a new Pluralsight course that explores this powerful service and gives developers all the information they need to start building, deploying, and managing web applications in public or private Cloud Foundry environments. I started playing with Cloud Foundry almost 4 years ago, and have continued to watch with interest as the product matured. I thought it’d be fun to craft a training course around it, and Pluralsight eagerly accepted a proposal for my 11th (!!) overall course.
Cloud Foundry for Developers is a 3 hour course where we discuss PaaS, deploy a Ruby/Node/Mongo app, and run through management operations. While we primarily use the general purpose command line interface (CLI) that works across ANY Cloud Foundry environment, I also spend a little time in the Pivotal Web Services administration portal.
Module 1 – PaaS and Cloud Foundry Introduction
What is PaaS and why does it matter? In this module, I discuss PaaS in general, the details of twelve factor apps, how Cloud Foundry works, and the web application we’ll be working with. I wanted course viewers to get an immediate taste for Cloud Foundry, so within the first ten minutes of the course, we deploy our first app. INSTANT GRATIFICATION.
Module 2 – Deploying and Managing Applications (Part 1)
Developers love PaaS because it simplifies the assembly, deployment, and management of modern web apps. No more hunting for available web servers, configuring network settings, or begging an Ops person for more capacity. In this module, we set up the local (testing) environment and remote PaaS environment. We explore user roles, see how to create and attach 3rd party services to our apps, and define application manifests.
Module 3 – Deploying and Managing Applications (Part II)
Here we get to the meat of deployment and runtime management in Cloud Foundry. After deploying all the components of our system, we scale both horizontally and vertically, and update a running app. While you may write perfect code, it’s inevitable that you experience an exception at SOME point. When working with a layer of abstraction like PaaS, it’s critical to understand the troubleshooting tools. We spend a bit of time talking about common types of errors, and how to use the Cloud Foundry logging system to narrow down the problem.
Module 4 – Cloud Foundry Advanced Topics
There are a LOT of topics to cover with Cloud Foundry! In this module I look at a few advanced capabilities of the platform that every developer should be familiar with. Here I show you how to use environment variables correctly, how to build, deploy, and run background (worker) applications, and doing no-downtime (blue/green) deployments. The final exercise is my favorite. Cloud Foundry has an amazing capability to bring application instances back online after a crash. Here I got to do what I do best in code: cause unexpected crashes! It’s compelling to see an application quickly “self heal” without the user even knowing it.
I have lots of ideas for follow up Cloud Foundry topics (e.g. continuous integration/deployment, BOSH, microservices), but I hope you enjoy THIS course about using Cloud Foundry to deliver modern applications faster and more consistently.