Kubernetes (k8s) is the front runner in market share for orchestration solutions, and arguably the most robust solution that scales up to the needs of large enterprises. Kubernetes is based on the application containers that Google has been using internally for years to scale their web services, like Search, Gmail and Maps. When they open-sourced the technology by donating the code to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), infrastructure experts everywhere gained a powerful, new tool to deploy their own applications at web-scale.
Just look at the list of brands that use Kubernetes to orchestrate their container infrastructure and you’ll understand why it has become the de-facto standard. Comcast, eBay, Goldman Sachs, SAP – you’re certainly in good company.
The most common barrier that new users face setting up Kubernetes is the number of modules required to be configured, including the containerd runtime, CNI Container Networking Interface and etcd key-value store. From setting up your own Certificate Authority (CA) to setting up networking, it can quickly get overwhelming.
There are automation scripts such as minikube and get.k8s.io that can install upstream Kubernetes for local development or on your cloud provider of choice, but there are drawbacks. You have to manually install SDKs on your machine and the scripts make certain assumptions that would probably have to be tweaked for a production environment. When a new version of Kubernetes comes out, you would also have to update it manually and ensure the new version doesn’t break compatibility with your existing containers.
As a result, a sizeable industry has sprung up around maintaining commercial distros of Kubernetes. Key players include Rancher, CoreOS Tectonic and OpenShift Origin. These vendors test and validate the changes made upstream before pushing it out to their userbase, in addition to baking in features like automated deployment, their own compose file formats and an enhanced management console. The outcome would be best described as a managed Kubernetes experience, where your Rancher, Tectonic or Origin server automatically performs health-checks on the components of your Kubernetes clusters and keeps them up to date.
Whichever way you decide to achieve enterprise, production-grade Kubernetes in your organization, our cloud architects are here to help you succeed. Contact us for more information about any of these solutions.