It’s Open Source Season on the [Kubernetes] Highway!

March 22nd, 2016

Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith

SVP, Revenue
To save you from the potentially exhausting, dangerous journey down the interwebs, here is our “guaranteed to be out of date next month” roundup of the movers, shakers, and newsworthy in the Kubernetes landscape.

Open Season on the Kubernetes Highway

Remember that scene in LA Story when, during a peaceful drive down the 405 Freeway, Steve Martin’s character is reminded of the first day of spring?  Open Season on the LA Freeway!  While we are only a few days past the first day of Spring on the East Coast where most of Packet lives, it’s starting to feel a lot like open season...at least when it comes to Kubernetes, the rapidly evolving open source container cluster manager project from Google.

To save you from the potentially exhausting, dangerous journey down the interwebs, here is our “guaranteed to be out of date next month” roundup of the movers, shakers, and newsworthy in the Kubernetes landscape.    To help with target practice, we’ve organized this post around all the beautiful maritime themed logos so popular in ye container landscape.

Happy Spring!

State of the Union

Since Kubernetes hit general availability last year (around July 2015), it has attracted widespread interest in the technology infrastructure community.  While the early adopters seem to have been technologists and “devops forward” enterprises, there is a growing list of serious ecosystem partners who are looking to commercialize Kubernetes or other kinds of workload orchestration tools that leverage the underlying architecture and codebase. 

We wrote about the messy open source world of container camps a few months ago (The Coming Docker vs Kubernetes Showdown) and we’ve seen increased momentum with Kubernetes in the enterprise space since then.  That being said, we’re excited and encouraged by the rumblings from Mesosphere around Open DC/OS and the future of Docker Swarm.  The only clear winner in this race (at the moment) are the technologists working to bring us all closer to the ideal of “infrastructure as code.”  

Why Kubernetes?  It’s About Orchestration, Dummies!

Based on last year’s O’Reilly survey, 50% of respondents indicated that orchestration is a challenge when adopting containers.  It shows how sensitive people are towards a world where workload is broken into hundreds or thousands of small pieces -- and how the community recognizes that you can’t even hope to manage that by hand.  You need an efficient and intelligent scheduler to orchestrate workload for maximum efficiency, performance and security.

Large deployments have the most to gain from microservices architectures, so it’s no surprise that sophisticated enterprises have been the early adopters and proponents of Kubernetes technology.  The strong open source license, clear intentions of the Kubernetes stewards (Google, primarily) and a history of managing some of the world’s most efficient computing clusters makes the project “required reading” for any enterprise looking at a production container environment.  

In short: most enterprises need a container strategy, and as such they also need a Kubernetes strategy.

Kubernetes: “DevOps Forward” Enterprise Edition

Since Kubernetes is a rapidly evolving, open-source project, there are many opportunities for early adopters to make an impact and also develop internal buy in, technical thought leadership and affect the project while it’s still young.  Here is a rundown of how some leading enterprises are involved in Kubernetes:

 

Viacom talked about their efforts of creating a next generation Kubernetes Infrastructure at CoreOS’s Tectonic Summit 2015 in New York (check out the video of Michael Venezia’s presentation “Creating Next Generation Kubernetes Infrastructure at Viacom”).  The mass media company has found Kubernetes to be a natural and easy fit to do CI/CD. The company has run Kubernetes for applications such as demo sites and live site tests.

 

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the holding conglomerate that counts NYSE and Euronext in its book, has transitioned hundreds of its production RedHat Linux machines to CoreOS to run container workloads, offer an ‘invisible OS’ to its compute platforms and power Kubernetes and other advanced schedulers.

 

Bloomberg does Kubernetes

Bloomberg offered up some useful Chef recipes to the community for its working deployment of Kubernetes.  It’s not clear exactly how or if Bloomberg is leveraging Kubernetes in production, but it is most definitely playing with the technology.  Sandboxes are where we all start, right?  But I’m quite sure very few are as nice as Bloomberg’s.  :)

 

Goldman Sachs is working on a yearlong, enterprise-wide migration effort to containers using Docker technology.  The target?  5,000 of its cloud applications.  Welp!  To orchestrate containers for large workloads, Goldman is relying on Kubernetes due to its superior scheduling capabilities.

 

eBay, an early and vocal adopter of OpenStack technology, is integrating Kubernetes’ scheduling system with its OpenStack cloud. The company plans to leverage Kubernetes to adopt a flexible deployment model using containerized applications. 

Other companies such as Box, Samsung, and Zulily have been early users of Kubernetes, diving in well before the GA release last year.  Got some favorite or impressive examples to share?  Make sure to drop a comment in below.

 

Commercialization Efforts

On the provider side, Kubernetes has gained significant traction across the Infrastructure landscape.  And with adoption in the open source world, along comes commercialization.

 

Tectonic - CoreOS’s Kubernetes based container platform hit general availability in November 2015. CoreOS then went even further and built a security feature that offers Tectonic with Distributed Trusted Computing (essentially key-based access to everything from boot to container runtime). 

 

Deis - Catching the Kubernetes wave, container PaaS provider Deis launched Helm as the open source manager for Kubernetes. Helm, which helps to find, share and use software built for Kubernetes, is expected to attract new users onto the platform. As Deis team addresses the challenges around workload curation. Kubernetes would become more approachable.

Rancher - Originally a pure Docker solution, Rancher’s popular front end and operations tooling now supports Kubernetes as a first class citizen. 

 

Stackpoint Cloud - Stackpoint highlights choice in their offering, enabling a user-friendly interface and unit-tested deployment of Kubernetes with your choice of OS (RancherOS, CoreOS or Atomic), your runtime (Rkt or Docker) and your choice of cloud providers (AWS, Digital Ocean, AWS, Azure, Rackspace, ProfitBricks and Packet).

 

VAMP

VAMP - The catchily named Very Awesome Microservices Platform put out by the team at Magnetic.io (link to righteous homepage), started with Docker and added Mesosphere support last year.  Kubernetes is coming out shortly and will make them another popular platform for Kubernetes management and lifecycle.

 

Mesosphere

Mesosphere - Wait a second!  I thought this was a blog about Kubernetes?  Happily these titans of mindshare can co-existing and in April of last year Mesosphere announced Kubernetes as a first-class citizen of their Data Center Operating System (DC/OS).  Look for more Kubernetes loves from Mesosphere as they gear up for the next generation of their community edition.

 

GCE - And we can’t forget the granddaddy of them all: Google Compute Engine.  GCE supports Kubernetes through its Container Service, a fully managed platform solution for running containers on top of a managed Kubernetes layer.

Many other software companies - from Mesosphere to Puppet Labs - offer solutions that are integrated with Kubernetes’ framework.  If we missed anybody, drop us a line on twitter (@packethost) and we’ll update as best we can!

Consulting and Implementation Partners

Consulting companies have started to emerge targeting Kubernetes early adopters or enterprises looking for help on strategy, implementation or maintenance of their Kubernetes platforms.  

Kismatic - Kismatic aims to commercialize Kubernetes and drive enterprise adoption through its consulting offering and popular conference, KubeCon.  Kismatic offers enterprise level support for Kubernetes and Docker and has professional services offerings for custom integrations around identity, security and management.

 

Jetstack - Based out of the UK and staffed by early members of the MongoDB EU team, Jetstack is a consulting and engineering service provider with expertise in Docker and Kubernetes. Jetstack does not just help with management and consulting services but also assists on legal, training and security aspects.

 

The Cool Kids

Nobody runs Kubernetes just to run Kubnetes...right?  When it comes to using Kubernetes to do amazing, vertical-creating real life stuff, there are a few companies that really stick out.

 

Pachyderm - Pachyderm builds on cutting edge tools in the container ecosystem to provide a complete containerized data analytics package.   During a founder’s trip in January we sat down with Joey Zwicker and were seriously impressed on how this small startup is tackling big data and parallel workloads with Kubernetes and containers.

 

Hypernetes - Based on HyperContainer, a small form factor hypervisor specifically built to run Docker, Hypernetes is a distribution of Kubernetes that replaces the guest operating system to host containers on a minimalist Linux kernel. The new apache licensed project also brings together elements from OpenStack to enable multi-tenant Container as a Service which is all bundled as the PaaS offering Hyper_ whose private beta is open now!

Current

Current.sh - Current is a in-beta log management platform that runs on Kubernetes, giving a SaaS-like experience to a complex, highly performant log aggretation, storage and search tool.

 

Conclusion

It’s not surprising that such a massively well timed open-source project would attract this much diverse attention.  What will be interesting is to see how “non Google-esque” organizations take this technology forward and make it useful to mere mortals.    

We see heartening trends.   Companies like Jetstack and Kismastic are helping organizations to digest and make use of Kubernetes, while at the same time a rich ecosystem of technology players (CoreOS, Mesosphere one end and Hyper, Current and Pachyderm on another) are embracing the work required to sustain open source.   

Look for 2016 to be a break-out year for Kubernetes in production.