Canonical Extends Reach of MicroK8s

Canonical has updated its lightweight distribution of Kubernetes, known as MicroK8s, to add support for version 1.22 of Kubernetes in addition to making available in beta a version that now runs on IBM Z mainframes.

In addition, Canonical has made it simpler to employ Kata containers based on a lightweight hypervisor on MicroK8s via a single command.

Finally, the latest version of the Ubuntu distribution of Linux is now also available as a Docker container image alongside an instance of the latest version of the open source Cassandra database and the Bind9 instance of a domain name server (DNS). Other Docker images for which Canonical provides long term support include Grafana, Prometheus and NGINX.

Lightweight distributions of Kubernetes are gaining traction because they provide the core capabilities required in a format that is both more accessible and less complex to install and maintain. Lightweight distributions of Kubernetes are employed by developers on laptops to build Kubernetes applications. At the same time, they are also employed at the network edge to run applications on infrastructure based on, for example, Raspberry Pi or NVIDIA Jetson single-board computers (SBC) that are not capable of running a much larger distribution of Kubernetes.

Some organizations also prefer to run lightweight distributions of Kubernetes in a local data center or in the cloud because they consume less memory.

MicroK8s is different from other lightweight distributions of Kubernetes in that it makes use of the snap packaging and deployment technology that Canonical created to make it easier to deploy software. Snap also serves to isolate instances of MicroK8s running on the same platform.

Rob Gibbon, product manager of Ubuntu OS at Canonical, said the company is committed to providing even instances of Ubuntu as a Docker image simply to make it easier to deploy a full stack of software. Canonical last year allied with Docker, Inc. to create a curated set of secure container application images on Docker Hub that it is committed to supporting for the next 10 years. As part of that effort, Canonical has committed to fix within 24 hours any critical security issues that impact any of the containers that are part of its long-term support (LTS) Docker image portfolio.

Canonical, of course, isn’t the only provider of a lighter-weight distribution of Kubernetes. However, given the growing popularity of its Ubuntu distribution of Linux, there are many opportunities for Canonical to engage customers that already make use of its tools to provision not just Ubuntu but also a wide range of other applications. MicroK8s, in those instances, is just another extension of an existing provisioning process they have already mastered.

As Kubernetes becomes more pervasively deployed across the enterprise, IT teams are starting to appreciate the fact that the platform comes in many sizes and shapes. Applications developed on one instance of Kubernetes can be deployed on any other. The challenge IT leaders will face is determining what class of Kubernetes to deploy on what platform depending on the application use case and the level of expertise of the IT staff that needs to support it.

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.

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