August 18, 2017

As an open-source container orchestration engine, Kubernetes enjoys broad industry support. The challenge is, it is a technology designed primarily for engineers by Google engineers. But since Google decided to make Kubernetes available as open-source code, a lot of effort is going in to making Kubernetes a technology platform that could be consumed by the average enterprise.

At the forefront of that Kubernetes effort is CoreOS, which has been at the center of a Google Infrastructure for Everyone Else (GIFEE) initiative that aims to make Google-developed cloud technologies available as private cloud software that the average enterprise IT organization could embrace.

Now CoreOS has strengthened that effort by hiring the founders of Redspread specifically to make Kubernetes more approachable to the average IT organization. To that end, CoreOS Alex Polvi says the founders of Redspread, as CoreOS employees, will be focusing on making it easier to both reproduce Kubernetes deployments and create and manage workflows across the container orchestration platform.

Redspread created open-source tools enabling organizations to deploy and manage distributed, containerized applications using Kubernetes. Redspread’s UI (and back-end tooling) provides insight into complex clusters and make it easier to identify inconsistencies. Polvi says CoreOS will incorporate that technology into Tectonic, the enterprise-class implementation of Kubernetes it developed in collaboration with Google. At an OpenStack Summit conference in Barcelona this week CoreOS released the technical preview of that Stacknetes project.

While Google has been making strategic investments to bolster is public cloud as an alternative to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, it’s clearly counting on alliances with vendors such as CoreOS and Mirantis to extend its reach into private clouds via support for Kubernetes and OpenStack, respectively. At core of that effort is a recent acquisition of Apigee, provider of an application programming interface (API) management platform.

For all intents and purposes, Polvi says, the battle for container orchestration supremacy is already all but over. While Docker Inc. and Mesosphere may beg to differ, Polvi notes that major vendor support for Kubernetes as an open-source enabling technology is already widespread. In effect, it’s only matter of time before Kubernetes is widely distributed across a broad range of public and private clouds, says Polvi.

Of course, the average IT operations team has yet to be heard from on the matter. Developers have shown a clear preference for Kubernetes. But as container orchestration engines possibly move more into the realm of IT operations teams, Docker Inc. and Mesosphere are betting that IT administrators more interested in issues such as accessibility and scale will make a different orchestration engine decision.

Obviously, making the founders of Redspread a part of the CoreOS management team should go a long way to making Kubernetes more appealing to the average IT administrator. In the meantime, enterprise IT organizations may want to prepare themselves for an age in which there may be multiple container orchestration engines employed across different parts of the enterprise. One of those engines may ultimately prove dominant. But until a clear winner emerges, chances are developers and IT administrators will continue to lobby for their personal favorites.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.