Google Adds Istio and Knative Support to GKE Cloud Service

As part of an effort to make it easier for IT organizations to embrace multiple computing frameworks in the cloud, Google this week at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 conference announced it has made available beta instances of version 1.0 of the Istio service mesh on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

At the same time, Google also revealed it will support version 0.2 of Knative, a set of middleware that makes it easier to invoke multiple serverless computing frameworks from within Kubernetes. Knative is an open source project started by Google.

Chen Goldberg, director of engineering for Google Cloud, says the definition of what hybrid cloud computing means is changing as cloud computing evolves. Instead of being limited to where a stack of software might be running, hybrid cloud computing now encompasses applications deployed on Kubernetes, serverless computing frameworks and traditional 12-factor applications deployed on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment such as Google AppEngine.

In addition to now supporting instances of GKE running in an on-premises environment running on top of VMware, Google is making a concerted effort to provide a DevOps playbook and toolchain that makes it possible to provide a common developer experience across all three major styles of application development that are now emerging, regardless of whether they run on GKE in the cloud or on-premises, says Goldberg.

As part of that transition, Google is providing customers with the option of managing the entire IT environment themselves or relying more on managed services from Google to automate the management of the infrastructure and Kubernetes. In fact, as Kubernetes continues to evolve, the separation of DevOps concerns between cloud service providers such as Google and IT organizations will become more well-defined, says Goldberg, noting Google has all the site reliability engineer (SRE) expertise required to manage the infrastructure. IT organizations need to concentrate on the developing the equivalent level of SRE expertise to manage their applications.

Goldberg says Istio will play a critical role in driving that evolution because it enables organizations to manage services discretely regardless of whether they are running as a container or on a virtual machine. IT organizations will be able to not only control what services can communicate with each other, but also generate audit trails enabling them to meet any number of compliance mandates.

In general, Goldberg says the lines between various styles of computing are starting to blur. Serverless computing frameworks most often will be invoked as an extension of a container platform to process a complementary workload that needs to run for a short period of time. The challenge developers will face is incorporating event-driven serverless computing frameworks that rely on functional programming tools into their application architectures.

It may take a while for IT organizations to fully appreciate just how hybrid cloud computing is becoming. But it’s clear that organizations will need to spend a lot more time determining which type of applications should run where based on not just their attributes, but also the relative platform expertise of the developers building them.

Mike Vizard

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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