Rancher Labs and the global IT services arm of Fujitsu that operates in the United Kingdom (UK) have joined forces to further the adoption of Kubernetes container orchestration technology within public sector institutions.
Jason Daniels, CTO for Public Sector, Law and Order at Fujitsu UK, says interest in cloud-native technologies is on the rise across UK government agencies in the wake of the Cloud First policy enacted by the Government Digital Service arm of the British Government, which sets the IT direction for the national government.
The alliance with Rancher Labs creates an opportunity for Fujitsu UK to establish patterns for deploying and reusing microservices based on containers across multiple public clouds that will be accessible to a diverse range of government agencies, he says.
Part of the attraction to working with Rancher Labs is its forthcoming acquisition by SUSE, which collectively will enable Fujitsu UK to build a practice around a set of integrated open source platforms, Daniels notes, adding the knowledge and expertise Fujitsu UK gains using these platforms will then be shared with other Fujitsu subsidiaries around the world. Many of the core Rancher technologies are being developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which Daniels says assures Fujitsu they will continue to evolve.
Government agencies are leaning more on systems integrators such as Fujitsu as IT environments have become more chaotic, says Daniels. In addition to virtual machines and bare-metal servers running monolithic applications, IT teams are now deploying microservices based on containers and serverless computing frameworks. IT teams within government agencies often don’t have the expertise required to build and deploy microservices-based applications on public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
Rancher Labs, meanwhile, provides the control plane through which different distributions of Kubernetes can be managed running on various public clouds.
Microservices are, of course, not a new concept. IT teams have been using service-oriented architectures (SOA) to construct applications for decades. However, those applications have tended to be cumbersome to manage and relatively slow because they rely on XML and web services. The rise of the cloud and easier methods of building application programming interfaces (APIs) makes it possible to connect more loosely coupled microservices that tend to scale better and are easier to update or replace when necessary.
Applications also become more resilient, as requests can be rerouted to another service should one microservice be unavailable.
The challenge, however, is that each of those microservices is dependent on each other. That creates a level of dependency that can make microservices difficult to manage. It’s not unheard of for some organizations to abandon a microservices-based application project in favor of a monolithic application they know how to build and manage.
That said, microservices generally are a better way to build applications. The challenge is finding a way to share the knowledge required to successfully build and deploy microservices-based applications on platforms such as Kubernetes that most IT teams have yet to master.