Provisioning a Kubernetes cluster has become a lot easier in recent months, but the daily management of the platform still can be challenging. To make it simpler to manage a Kubernetes cluster, Canonical has teamed up with Rancher Labs to deliver a Cloud Native Platform due out in early 2018.
Rancher developed a container management system that makes it easier to manage multiple instances of Kubernetes clusters using workflow tools that address, for example, access control and other cluster administration functions.
Dustin Kirkland, vice president of product at Canonical, says Canonical decided to partner with Rancher Labs to create a more turnkey Kubernetes platform that comes with a framework for managing the platform. Going forward, Kirkland says Canonical will add capabilities to the Cloud Native Platform to round out the DevOps management experience surrounding Kubernetes. The Cloud Native Platform crafted by Canonical and Rancher Labs is designed to provide a unified approach to deploying Kubernetes in an on-premises environment or in a public cloud container service such as Amazon EKS, Azure ACS or Google GKE, he says.
The challenge Canonical will face in that context is that each of the major cloud service providers is promoting its own instance of Kubernetes services. Kirkland says that as the provider of the Ubuntu distribution of Linux—which is the most widely used operating system for deploying containers—Canonical is in a unique position to pull together all the elements needed to run and manage containers in a hybrid cloud computing environment using a consistent implementation of Kubernetes running on-premises and in various public clouds.
Kirkland notes it’s already apparent that Kubernetes will redefine IT infrastructure in the years ahead. Less clear is the degree to which IT organizations will want to consume Kubernetes as some form of service rather than installing and managing Kubernetes on their own. But given the velocity at which applications are now being developed and updated, there’s been a sharp increase in consuming all forms of IT infrastructure as some form of a service regardless of where it’s deployed, he says.
In many ways, providers of platforms in the enterprise are starting to look past Kubernetes. The assumption is that as the Kubernetes platform becomes more stable, vendors will differentiate themselves by adding layers of capabilities on top of the core Kubernetes distribution overseen by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). In that context, many providers of traditional operating systems are gearing up to now deliver Kubernetes platforms that expand well beyond the scope of a traditional operating system.
Kubernetes impacts almost every aspect of compute, storage and networking in the enterprise. Most IT organizations in the months ahead must come to terms with what amounts to the unification of software-defined infrastructure under a common management framework for managing container clusters. In the meantime, there will be a lot of jockeying for position among providers of platforms that should lead to all kinds of twist and turns when it comes to both potential acquisitions and vendor alliances.