At the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2019 conference this week, Mirantis announced it will support instances of Kubernetes that IT organizations have rolled out on their own in addition to its own distribution of Kubernetes.
Boris Renski, chief marketing officer for Mirantis, says many organizations wind up deploying an instance of Kubernetes based on the raw bits made available via the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) because developers decided to move forward without any support from the internal IT operations team. However, once IT operations teams discover how many instances of Kubernetes have already been deployed by multiple development teams, it’s not long before they want to exercise more consistent controls over those environments.
To facilitate that transition, Renski says Mirantis is launching a Bring Your Own Distro (BYOD) initiative, under which it will provide enterprise support for recent releases of Kubernetes. That support is also limited to certain Kubernetes plug-ins, such as the open source Calico network virtualization software that Mirantis already supports in its own offerings.
Renkski says that in much the same way many OpenStack environments evolved into “Frankenclouds,” the same phenomenon is starting to occur within organizations that have deployed Kubernetes in a production environment. Each team in some way winds up extending Kubernetes in a way that makes it challenging for IT operations teams to support. By taking on the task, Mirantis is hoping to eventually migrate one-off instances of Kubernetes to its Kubernetes-as-a-service offering, a managed Kubernetes as a service offering for on-premises IT environments that want to be able to deploy Kubernetes on either virtual machines or bare-metal servers consistently.
It’s still early days as far as Kubernetes adoption in the enterprise is concerned. There is, however, already a race among IT vendors to provide the tools and frameworks IT organizations will rely on to operationalize Kubernetes at scale. Mirantis has a long history of enabling organizations to operationalize OpenStack that it is now applying to Kubernetes without requiring organization to standardize on a specific type of virtual machine.
The proverbial constitutional crisis that will drive force organizations to confront how they plan to operationalize Kubernetes will occur at different times. While Kubernetes has been adopted widely, the percentage of workloads running on Kubernetes within most organizations remains relatively modest. At the same time, it’s comparatively simple for many developers to programmatically spin up Kubernetes clusters on their own. That capability creates a recipe for Kubernetes sprawl that will eventually need to be addressed by IT operations teams.
Of course, most savvy IT operations teams will want to head off Kubernetes sprawl before it occurs. However, most of them don’t have much in the way of the internal expertise required to manage Kubernetes ta scale. Mirantis is betting that those organizations will want to rely not only on the Kubernetes expertise Mirantis provides as a managed service, but also the company’s proven commitment to teaching customers how to manage emerging IT platforms such as Kubernetes and OpenStack on their own.