What Is Kf? Google Cloud’s PCF Alternative for Kubernetes

Since being acquired by VMWare, many in the development community say Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) is on the decline, with Kubernetes taking its place. But for those looking to jump ship, the switch from PCF to Kubernetes can be like going from Apple to Android.

Thankfully, Kf, Google Cloud’s migration tool and PCF alternative for Kubernetes, provides a path for migrating while keeping everything developers love about Cloud Foundry.

Cloud Foundry Explained

Developers have started moving away from PCF in the last several years. Before unpacking why, it’s important to understand how it became the go-to cloud-native platform in the first place.

It started with the open-source project Cloud Foundry, built by developers in 2009. As an agnostic container-based, PaaS for teams of any size, Cloud Foundry was designed to support the whole application development lifecycle, from the beginning stages of development all the way to deployment. The developer community liked Cloud Foundry mainly for its flexibility, portability, and efficiency. It allowed teams to work smarter and faster without locking them into a specific vendor.

In short, it was a platform made by developers for developers.

You might be wondering about the difference between Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry is the commercial offering of Cloud Foundry with extra features and capabilities built on top of it. It provides all the benefits of Cloud Foundry plus components for implementing enterprise-level software. It was acquired by VMWare in 2019.

Why Developers Are Moving Away from Pivotal Cloud Foundry

Since being absorbed by VMWare, many worry that Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s heyday is ending. One of the reasons for this is that VMWare decided to sunset Pivotal Web Services (PCF’s serverless solution). The Cloud Foundry community as a whole has also struggled to define their move to Kubernetes. And while the PCF licensing costs for on-premises deployment could be justified at one point in time, they don’t make sense for the cloud.

Instead, developers are adopting Kubernetes as the standard for container orchestration deployment, which eliminates PCF licensing costs and simplifies cloud and on-premises operations.

What Is Kf?

While the development community is increasingly embracing Kubernetes, the process of migrating applications from Cloud Foundry to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Anthos can disrupt developer workflows. That’s why Google Cloud created Kf, which offers developers a Cloud Foundry-like interface and experience to minimize disruptions during the migration.

With Kf, developers see little to no changes to source code and workflows, improved logging and metrics, and the ability to build custom dashboards.

The main features include:

  • Real-time Stackdriver logging
  • Custom monitoring and alerting
  • Metrics-based autoscaling
  • Kubernetes tooling
  • GitOps integration
  • Self-service provisioning
  • Managed backing services

Cloud Foundry vs. Kf Services: How Do They Compare?

Kf offers developers the Cloud Foundry experience, but how do PCF and Kf stack up against each other? Below is Google Cloud’s side-by-side comparison of Cloud Foundry services and components that Kf integrates with on Google Kubernetes Engine.


Service Category Service PCF Kf
Platform Infrastructure Orchestrator BOSH Google Kubernetes Engine
PaaS CF Appliance Runtime (CFAR) Kf
Data Management Google Cloud Service Broker Google Cloud Service Broker Tile Google Cloud Service Broker Helm Chart
AWS Service Broker AWS Service Broker Tile AWS Service Broker Helm Chart
MySQL MySQL Tile Minibroker
MongoDB MongoDB Tile Minibroker
RabbitMQ RabbitMQ Minibroker
Redis Redis Tile Minibroker
Eureka Spring Cloud Services Tile Service Discovery
Spring Cloud Config Spring Cloud Services Tile Spring Cloud Config Application
Operations Tooling Continuous Integration (CI) Concourse Tile Concourse Helm Chart
Logging Google Cloud Google Cloud Firehose Nozzle Cloud Logging
Elastic Elastic Firehouse Nozzle Elastic Stack Agent
Splunk Splunk Firehose Nozzle Splunk Connect
Metrics CF App Metrics GKE Metrics

Get Started with Kf Today

Ready to make the switch from Pivotal Cloud Foundry to Kubernetes? Talk to our Google Cloud Experts about using Google KubernetesEngine in your organization.

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