SUSE Expands Open Source Kubernetes Tools Portfolio

At the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon  North America conference this week, SUSE launched a bevy of open source initiatives that promise to make Kubernetes more accessible to both developers and IT operations teams.

The company also reveals it has integrated the SUSE Rancher platform for managing Kubernetes deployments, acquired last year, with the open source Harvester software for creating hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms.

Keith Basil, vice president of product for cloud-native infrastructure at SUSE, says the goal is to make it simpler for IT operations teams to run a mix of legacy workloads based on virtual machines alongside cloud-native applications running on Kubernetes.

At the core of Harvester are opinionated implementations of Kubernetes, libvirt, kubevirt, Longhorn and minIO to make it possible to encapsulate a workload for a virtual machine in a container that can then run on a Kubernetes cluster.

The integration with SUSE Rancher now adds the ability to create Kubernetes clusters on Harvester to run cloud-native workloads alongside legacy monolithic applications. This simultaneously provides centralized user authentication and multi-cluster management capabilities enabled by SUSE Rancher.

In addition to integration between Harvester and SUSE Rancher, the company this week also adds Rancher Desktop, which is based on a lightweight K3s distribution of Kubernetes, to make it simpler for developers to run Kubernetes and Docker workloads on local PC or Mac systems along with Epinio, a lightweight open source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. Epinio makes it simpler for developers to build applications without being dependent on an IT operations team to set up and maintain a PaaS on their behalf.

While there are many tools and platforms developers can already use to build containerized applications, Basil notes they typically require an organization to standardize on a platform that needs to be managed by an IT operations team. Epinio, in concert with Rancher Desktop, is designed to make it feasible for developers to set up their own IT environments, notes Basil.

SUSE also launched Opni, which uses machine learning algorithms to identify anomalies in logs and metrics to improve overall visibility in Kubernetes environments.

Finally, a Kubewarden project promises to improve security for policies written in any language by allowing them to be compiled in WebAssembly (WASM). That approach will make it easier to distribute policies via container registries alongside the artifacts used to build applications.

SUSE acquired Rancher Labs as part of an effort to unify the management of containers and virtual machine platforms based on open source software, Basil adds.

In general, SUSE is betting that, as far as adoption of container platforms is concerned, it’s still early days. While there may be Kubernetes platforms deployed in pockets across many large enterprises, Basil says there are still many developers and IT teams that have yet to even deploy their first Kubernetes environment.

Of course, the battle for the hearts and minds of both developers and IT operations teams is never-ending. In fact, developers are especially inclined to abandon one tool in favor of another that makes their application development efforts easier. The challenge is simply keeping up with a rate of change that, with each passing day, only seems to accelerate.

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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