December 15, 2017

CoreOS today announced it is extending the tools it developed to automate the deployment of its Tectonic distribution of Kubernetes to third-party tools and applications.

Reza Shaffi, vice president of product for CoreOS, says IT organizations can now take advantage of a beta release of an Open Cloud Services catalog, which was developed using the company’s Operators software to simplify the management of Kubernetes, to also now deploy etcd, the distributed key-value store; the Prometheus monitoring software; and the Vault secrets management tool developed by HashiCorp.

In addition, the latest release of Tectonic 1.8 formally adds support for Kubernetes 1.8 and Prometheus 2.0.

Finally, CoreOS Tectonic now can be employed also to manage the installed version of the Docker Engine, including automatically installing updates beginning with Docker 17.03.

Shaffi says CoreOS, as part of its Google Infrastructure for Everyone Else (GIFEE) commitment, is trying to make it easier to manage the entire Kubernetes ecosystem regardless of whether Kubernetes clusters are deployed in the cloud or on-premises.
Now that Kubernetes is for all intents and purposes a de facto standard for container clusters, the race is on between providers of various distributions to provide the most frictionless environment possible from a management perspective. In the case of CoreOS, that focus will manifest itself in tighter integration with continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) environments that are at the heart of most DevOps processes, he says.

It remains to be seen how many IT organizations will want to be involved in managing Kubernetes at all. Many cloud service providers, for example, are now providing access to instances of Kubernetes that are fully managed on behalf of customers. However, they have yet to extend those managed service out to complementary open-source technologies that typically get deployed on top of a Kubernetes cluster. But as container environments mature, it may become increasingly difficult to distinguish where Kubernetes leaves off and other elements of the complementary infrastructure software begin. In fact, CoreOS is clearly betting that Tectonic will provide the foundation for a robust Kubernetes ecosystem spanning multiple public and private clouds.

It’s also not clear to what degree Kubernetes might also foster adoption of hybrid clouds. In theory, instances of Kubernetes deployed on-premises and in public clouds should make it much easier to build and deploy applications spanning multiple clouds. But how soon that might occur depends largely on the rate at which organizations transition from monolithic applications running on-premises to microservices architectures. Much of that transition, in turn, will be dictated by the amount of Docker and Kubernetes skills those organizations can avail themselves of in the months ahead.

In the meantime, a fight among the titans of the IT industry to become the dominant provider of Kubernetes distributions is well underway. Less clear is whether relative upstarts such as CoreOS will be able to usurp incumbent rivals, which already are making Kubernetes part of a strategy that encompasses both monolithic and microservices applications that will be managed side by side for many years to come.

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.