In a development that promises to have major implications for how private clouds are ultimately built and managed, Intel, CoreOS and Mirantis this week revealed they are working with Google to port the OpenStack cloud management framework to the Kubernetes container management framework. As part of that effort all four companies will be contributing code and engineering expertise to make both OpenStack and Kubernetes more accessible to a broader range of IT organizations.
Jonathan Donaldson, vice president in the Data Center Group and general manager of the Software Defined Infrastructure Group at Intel, says Intel’s interest in both OpenStack and Kubernetes stems from a desire to make it simpler for IT organizations to build private clouds. Ultimately, Donaldson says Intel envisions OpenStack and Kubernetes coming together as a single software-defined infrastructure (SDI) stack in a way that enables IT organizations to employ a common framework to manage containers running on either virtual machines or bare metal servers.
Via a Cloud for All initiative Intel has already expressed its concerns that too many application workloads might be moving to the public cloud. As far as Intel is concerned if that occurs the providers of those public clouds would exercise too much power over pricing. In addition, the major cloud service providers (CSP) have already required Intel to customize processors on their behalf. That not only adds additional costs to Intel’s bottom line; it brings into question it general purpose approach to building processors.
The combination of OpenStack and Kubernetes, says Donaldson, creates the opportunity to replicate a set of IT operations processes developed by Google. In essence, Google has used Kubernetes to turn every aspect of IT into a microservice that can be easily invoked on demand. Intel wants to make sure all IT organizations have access to the exact same capabilities.
To that end Intel decided to partner with CoreOS because it built a Tectonic operating system platform that encapsulates many of the processes Google created. CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi routinely refers to Tectonic as being an instance of “Google infrastructure for everybody else (GIFEE).” Polvi says while Kubernetes itself is still “rough around the edges” it’s only a matter of time before the vendors participating in the open source Kubernetes project turn the cloud orchestration framework into a platform that can be used by the average IT administrator versus an engineer working at Google.
For its part as a leading distributor of OpenStack, Boris Renski, chief marketing officer for Mirantis, says Mirantis will join CoreOS in contributing code to Kubernetes and that those efforts will supersede previous efforts to integrate the two frameworks. Renski says Mirantis envisions a metabody coming together that through which the respective technical committees that govern the Kubernetes and OpenStack projects will be able to more easily collaborate.
A commitment to Kubernetes on the part of Intel comes at a crucial time for the container orchestration framework. As rival container orchestration frameworks come to market criticism of Kubernetes as being a framework that is both too slow and cumbersome to use has intensified. With a little added engineering muscle from Intel, Google, Mirantis and CoreOS, however, it looks like such criticisms may soon be put to rest.