Deploying applications to Kubernetes clusters is much easier on a public cloud because much of the process is automated. As IT organizations look to deploy Kubernetes in an on-premises environment, many of them are looking for similar capabilities. To address that requirement, Gravitational has launched an open source Gravity project that enables organizations to take a snapshot of their Kubernetes cluster, including all applications and dependencies, and package it all into a single file.
Gravitational CEO Ev Kontsevoy says that when it comes to managing Kubernetes at scale in a private cloud, there is much room for improvement. Gravity addresses many of those issues by including, for example, an instance of Teleport, open source privileged access management software that address compliance issues by tracking who logged into a Kubernetes cluster.
Gravity and Teleport were both developed by Gravitational to simplify the management of clusters running cloud-native applications, says Kontsevoy. As Kubernetes continues to mature the number of those applications running outside of a public cloud is starting to increase. But most IT operations teams don’t have much experience managing Kubernetes clusters. Gravitational is providing tools that make it easier for IT operations teams to manage Kubernetes clusters at a higher level of abstraction, says Kontsevoy.
Gravitational is, of course, wading into a fierce debate occurring across the enterprise in the age of DevOps. Traditional enterprise IT organizations are unsure to what degree they want developers to have control over infrastructure such as Kubernetes. They absolutely want their IT operations teams to be able to more agilely respond to the needs of developers. But every minute developers spend managing infrastructure is one less minute they spend writing application code. In addition, IT infrastructure in an on-premises IT environments is a limited resource, which means developers need to be constrained from consuming every available resource at the expense of every other application running in that environment.
Most IT operations teams have tools in place to enforce those policies across traditional virtual machines. But not many IT organizations have the tools in place to manage Kubernetes. By making Gravity available as an open source project, Gravitational is also helping to accelerate the rate at which IT operations teams will feel comfortable deploying Kubernetes at scale in production environments.
Naturally, Gravitational is not the only company starting to focus on Kubernetes management. As developers increasingly embrace containers, the potential for Kubernetes sprawl to become a significant IT issue is high.
In the meantime, it remains to be seen how many IT organizations will attempt to manage Kubernetes natively versus relying on existing tools provided by, for example, VMware to manage Kubernetes clusters as an extension of their existing IT environments. There’s still a lot of debate over to what degree Kubernetes will be deployed on virtual machines versus replacing the need for virtual machines altogether. Whatever the outcome of the debate, however, Gravitational has just effectively reduced the cost of acquiring software to gain experience managing Kubernetes down effectively to zero.