June 22, 2018

Mesosphere today moved to make good on a promise to incorporate Kubernetes clusters into the DC/OS platform to provide a way to more easily integrate microservices applications with disparate back-end data sources.

With the release of version 1.11 of DC/OS, IT organizations now have the option to deploy Kubernetes as an alternative to the Marathon container orchestration platform Mesosphere previously supported. Mesosphere CTO Tobi Knaup says that approach now makes it possible to rely on the underlying Mesos software on which DC/OS is built to both make it easier to manage Kubernetes and provide containerized applications with access to back-end data services in real time to provide a cloud platform experience.

Rather than having to manually set up each back-end connection, DC/OS enables IT operations teams to create a self-service platform through which they expose various services to developers. Support for Kubernetes essentially provides an alternative approach to creating a layer of abstraction above the underlying compute, storage and networking infrastructure, says Knaup.

Knaup notes that while Kubernetes has become easier to set up, major challenges associated with its maintenance still exist. DC/OS addresses those issues by enabling easier-to-manage multiple clusters as well as making sure containerized applications still have access to back-end data sources even when the cluster fails.

In general, many IT organizations underestimate the challenges associated with dynamically managing data pipelines as the number of microservices deployed in an organization proliferate, Knaup says. DC/OS provides a cloud platform that makes it easier to manage those pipelines using a private cloud to give developers the same experience they would find on a public cloud.

Having that platform in place also serves to make it easier for IT organizations to embrace DevOps to the level that best fits their culture, he adds. In some organizations, developers are now responsible for all aspects of IT pertaining to their application. Other organizations prefer developers spend most of their time writing code. In either case, Knaup says DC/OS is designed to minimize the number of physical interactions required with data sources and the underlying infrastructure.

Knaup points out that it’s become clear that Mesos is more a complement than rival to Kubernetes. The same construct Mesos enables to manage IT infrastructure can be applied to Kubernetes. Via a single click, DC/OS automates more than 20 distinct steps required to set up a secure and highly available Kubernetes cluster, including being able to scale a cluster up and down without any disruption to services, say Knaup. DC/OS also addresses myriad security issues, including encrypting data in transit, secrets management and integration with Kerberos, LDAP and Active Directory.

These capabilities should make it easier for IT operations teams to incorporate Kubernetes cluster into their processes. That promotes a virtuous cycle, because developers then are more encouraged to build microservices-based applications.

Of course, DC/OS is not the only means to provide a layer of abstraction on top of a Kubernetes cluster. But it is arguably the platform that comes with the most number of ways to integrate those clusters with the back-end data sources that make deploying Kubernetes worthwhile in the first place.

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.