September 23, 2017

The team that developed the Marathon container orchestration engine is now throwing its weight behind Kubernetes. Mesosphere recently announced it is now providing access to a beta implementation of Kubernetes as an alternative to Marathon within its DC/OS platform. In addition, Mesosphere released a DC/OS 1.10 update that extends the number of pre-configured software stacks that can be deployed on the platform.

Mesosphere CTO Tobi Knaup says the decision to support Kubernetes is being driven by customer demand. On a practical level, deciding to support an alternative open-source container orchestration engine is akin to any other platform provider deciding to support multiple databases.

Knaup says enterprise IT organizations are adopting DC/OS because it enables them to employ a modern framework for managing legacy applications alongside cloud-native applications. That capability enables those organizations to rationalize any number of legacy platforms to reduce costs and make funds available to drive new application development, says Knaup.

In addition to a beta version of Kubernetes, DC/OS supports software stacks such as Apache Spark, Apache Cassandra, Apache Kafka, Confluent Kafka, DataStax Enterprise, Elasticsearch and the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). Mesosphere, adds Knaup, also makes available a software development kit (SDK) that can be employed by any software vendor to provide compatibility with DC/OS.

Other new DC/OS capabilities include support for custom certification authority integration and file-based secrets that can be used to support multi-tenant services and enables applications to securely share digital certificates. DC/OS also now enables IT administrators to back up and restore application configurations, perform live upgrades of data services and automatically validate DC/OS upgrades.

Finally, Mesosphere has added a L4/L7 ingress load balancer that makes it easier to expose any application or service running on a DC/OS cluster to external applications.

Knaup notes the watermark for IT infrastructure in the enterprise keeps rising. At the same time, he says it’s clear that many IT organizations don’t want to waste time stitching together various infrastructure components when there’s already a platform available that provides all the integration required at a much higher level of abstraction. In the case of Kubernetes, an IT organization may choose to deploy a container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment alongside a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment such as Cloud Foundry using a common base of IT infrastructure.

Just as significantly, Knaup says platforms such as DC/OS that can be deployed on-premises or in a public cloud provide a critical layer of isolation that prevents IT organizations from getting locked into any one hardware vendor or cloud service provider.

Most of the adoption of DC/OS to data has been in Global 2000 companies that need to support a larger number of legacy applications while modernizing application portfolios. The degree to which DC/OS might one day appeal to midmarket IT organizations remains to be seen. But Knaub notes that as new technologies such as serverless computing frameworks emerge, organizations of all sizes will start to appreciate a DC/OS platform that is designed from the ground up to adapt as needed.

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.