SUSE Extends Podman Reach to Kubernetes Deployments

SUSE has updated the instance of the open source Podman container management tool to now make it possible to also deploy workloads on Kubernetes clusters.

In addition, support for Kubernetes liveness probes in Podman, init containers and Podman image scp for securely copying images across hosts is now also included in the latest version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro, a lightweight distribution of the open source operating system optimized for containers and virtual machines.

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Markus Noga, general manager for business-critical Linux at SUSE, says these capabilities complement previous investments the company has made in the open source Rancher framework following its acquisition of Rancher Labs at the end of 2020.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.2 also adds a self-install image to further reduce deployment time. The image uses the same configuration methods found in pre-configured images along with additional cockpit modules to simplify administration.

The overall goal is to provide IT teams with a single point of control for managing the operating systems, containers and Kubernetes clusters, notes Noga.

Podman is capable of managing containers and images, volumes mounted into containers and pods made from groups of containers. It is based on libpod, a library for container life cycle management that surfaces an application programming interface (API). Podman relies on the container runtime that complies with the Open Container Initiative (OCI) specification to interface with the operating system and create containers that are nearly indistinguishable from those created by other container engines. It has emerged as an alternative approach to managing containers that doesn’t require an IT team to master all the orchestration nuances of a Kubernetes cluster.

It not clear whether IT teams are relying entirely on Kubernetes to manage containers. While there is certainly greater adoption of Kubernetes than ever, there are plenty of instances of containers deployed without an orchestration engine. Podman provides a simpler tool that is easier for the average IT administrator to master.

Regardless of the approach, the management of containers is becoming a bigger challenge as more microservices-based applications are deployed in production environments. The sheer volume of these applications will require traditional IT administrators to learn how to manage containers, which are often ripped and replaced as the overall application environment dynamically grows. The best way to achieve that goal is to include a tool as part of the operating system that enables IT administrators to experiment with what are, essentially, a new class of software artifacts.

In the meantime, the odds that IT administrators will be exposed to containers increase with each new application deployment. IT organizations could, in theory, rely on site reliability engineers (SREs) and other DevOps specialists to manage all of those applications. However, there simply isn’t enough of that expertise available yet. As a result, the only way containers will be effectively managed at scale is if IT administrators have the tools they need to succeed—especially as the number of containers within IT environments exponentially explodes.

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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