As more organizations pursue cloud-native applications and infrastructures for creating modern software environments, it has become clear that there is no single solution in the market for defining and packaging these multi-service, multi-format distributed applications. Real-world applications can now span on-premises infrastructure and cloud-based services, requiring multiple tools like Terraform for the infrastructure, Helm charts and Docker Compose files for the applications, and CloudFormation or ARM templates for the cloud-services. Each of these need to be managed separately.
To address this problem, Microsoft in collaboration with Docker are announcing Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB) – an open source, cloud-agnostic specification for packaging and running distributed applications. CNAB unifies the management of multi-service, distributed applications across different toolchains into a single all-in-one packaging format.The CNAB specification lets you define resources that can be deployed to any combination of runtime environments and tooling including Docker Engine, Kubernetes, Helm, automation tools and cloud services.
Docker is the first to implement CNAB for containerized applications and will be expanding it across the Docker platform to support new application development, deployment and lifecycle management. Initially CNAB support will be released as part of our docker-app experimental tool for building, packaging and managing cloud-native applications. Docker lets you package CNAB bundles as Docker images, so you can distribute and share through Docker registry tools including Docker Hub and Docker Trusted Registry. Additionally, Docker will enable organizations to deploy and manage CNAB-based applications in Docker Enterprise in the upcoming months.
The draft specification is available at cnab.io and we’re actively looking for contributors to the spec itself and people interested in building tools around the specification. Docker will be contributing to the CNAB specification.