Loft Labs Makes K8s Virtualization Software Open Source

Loft Labs today announced that its virtualization software for Kubernetes clusters is now available as an open source project.

Available on GitHub, the vcluster software created by Loft Labs makes it possible for organizations to provide a multi-tenant experience on top of a single Kubernetes cluster to optimize consumption of shared infrastructure resources.

Loft Labs CEO and co-founder Lukas Gentele says the company is working toward gaining enough momentum for its vcluster software to become an open source project that would be advanced under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The technical oversight committee (TOC) that oversees the development of Kubernetes within the constructs of the CNCF has already created a special interest group (SIG) for multi-tenancy in Kubernetes environments. There are now more than 90 companies using vcluster in production environments, Gentele says.

When Kubernetes was initially deployed by IT teams, the expectation was that many applications would share a relatively small number of large clusters. However, providing the self-service capabilities required to enable multiple application development teams to share a small number of clusters remains a Kubernetes work-in-progress. In the meantime, most IT teams are deploying single-tenant Kubernetes clusters, simply because many developers prefer to have their own dedicated platforms that don’t require them to be concerned about resource consumption from other applications. Of course, that approach winds up consuming a lot of compute and storage resources that, from a cost perspective, over time, starts to add up.

The Loft Labs approach is to employ virtualization software that not only isolates each application running on a multi-tenant environment but also enables IT teams to put virtual clusters into sleep mode when they are not being employed. That capability enables IT teams to reduce their overall infrastructure costs, says Gentele.

It’s not clear to what degree IT organizations will embrace multi-tenancy, but offerings such as vcluster will make easier for the average IT administrator to manage complex Kubernetes environments. One of the things that continues to limit adoption of Kubernetes is a lack of skills. IT administrators don’t typically have the same level of programming expertise as a site reliability engineer (SRE). The challenge is SREs are both hard to find and, given the demand for their expertise, retain.

Regardless of approach, it’s clear the management of Kubernetes clusters at scale needs to become simpler. Recent updates to the Kubernetes project itself have provided more of the capabilities that enterprise IT teams generally expect. However, Kubernetes continues to evolve as new capabilities are added, some of which replace previous capabilities that are in the process of being deprecated. Staying on top of what capabilities are available in which version of Kubernetes that might be deployed across an extended enterprise is becoming a significant challenge. That may ultimately become easier to cope with if each application has its own virtual namespace, regardless of what actual version of Kubernetes has been deployed.

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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