Volterra has launched a platform that enables organizations to build and deploy applications across hybrid clouds based on a distribution of Kubernetes.
Emerging from stealth with more than $50 million in funding, Volterra CEO Ankur Singla says the service will span both multiple public cloud services as well as edge computing environments.
At the core of the Volterra service is VoltStack, a distribution of Kubernetes that is curated and managed by Volterra. The only part of that instance of Kubernetes that any organization ever engages with is the Kubernetes application programming interfaces (APIs).
All those Kubernetes instances are then integrated using VoltMesh, an instance of a service mesh that Volterra has built on top of open source Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) software, now known as Tungsten Fabric. Rather than building a service mesh from the ground up, Volterra was able to connect highly distributed instances of Kubernetes by leveraging all the time and energy organizations have invested in that open source project, Singla says. In effect, Volterra has extended the SDN platform to Layers 4 through 7 of the networking stack to address applications and API routing. All the communications that occur across the Volterra services are also encrypted, he adds.
Finally, Volterra provides customers access to Volterra Console to manage and observe applications distributed across its platform. The goal is to provide customers with access to a console through which organizations can manage highly distributed applications, while Volterra manages the underlying IT platforms. Organizations can also logically group Kubernetes to make applications easier to manage at scale, he notes.
Singla says for the short term, Volterra is focusing on making it simpler to deploy applications. As the service evolves, Volterra will also start to make available tools for building applications.
Volterra already has more than 30 customers using a federated service that has the potential to democratize access to multiple clouds in a way that prevents organizations from becoming locked into any one cloud service. At the same time, that federated service can be extended to include on-premises IT environments running the same instance of Kubernetes that Volterra has deployed on a public cloud.
One of the promises of Kubernetes is that it could be employed to create a foundation for true hybrid cloud computing. The challenge is that providers of IT infrastructure have each curated their own instance of Kubernetes that is managed via a different console. The Volterra service is trying to deliver on the promise using an instance of Kubernetes that is not only accessible from the same platform, but each version of Kubernetes running in a production environment will also be consistent.
It’s not clear to what degree IT organizations might be willing to cede control over the underlying IT environment to a service provider. However, organizations that rely on external service providers to manage Kubernetes should have more resources to apply to building applications. The challenge now is finding a way to strike a balance between where internal IT teams add the most value and where external IT service providers tend to have greater expertise managing at scale.