In a recent post, we discussed the role that Kubernetes plays in deploying cloud-native applications. In short, Kubernetes is the de facto Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) layer for deploying cloud-native applications. This common layer of abstraction allows us to extend from the I/O of a single container up to multiple clusters in hybrid cloud environments. This enables seamless mobility of applications and data as required at any time between any cloud providers with minimal impact. Kubernetes is a cloud-native solution for the next decade of computing.
But why is Kubernetes so important?
With Docker, you soon realize that there should be a ‘Docker run’ command that can run containers across heterogeneous hosts. Here is when Kubernetes comes in. If in case a container fails, Kubernetes will spin up another container. It provides a complete system for running so many containers across multiple hosts.
Thanks to the standardization efforts and the conformance program, a developer testing containerized software on his desktop can confidently deploy it in a production environment running Kubernetes. With container runtime and Kubernetes becoming the gold standard of modern infrastructure, the original promise of the hybrid cloud can now guarantee compatibility across different environments.
Kubernetes drives consistency across its clusters on different infrastructures between public and private clouds. It manages the full lifecycle of containerized workloads across on-premises and public clouds, shifting applications and data between Kubernetes clusters as necessary. This allows enterprise customers to deploy to the most appropriate infrastructure driven by multiple factors such as cost control, data governance, access to specific features, high availability, and disaster recovery.
VMware has its sights set on becoming the container application platform standard along with its fiercest competitor, Red Hat’s mature OpenShift Kubernetes platform (IBM acquired red Hat in 2019). VMware unveiled the centerpiece of its Kubernetes strategy, VMware Tanzu, a portfolio of products and services slated to enhance the capabilities of VMware and Pivotal’s Pivotal Container Service (PKS).
ASG recommends using bare-metal Kubernetes solutions as they prevent “noisy neighbor” issues that can often plague hypervisor-based environments…”
As part of the Tanzu strategy, Project Pacific was announced at VMworld 2019 and billed as the most extensive change to ESXi in 10 years and is now being extended to create a single management plane and API that addresses both containers and virtual machines. A Kubernetes Pod will be treated just like a virtual machine and is integrated directly into ESXi.
Thanks to Kubernetes, hybrid cloud platforms not only enable workload portability but also deliver the ability to scale the workloads across disparate environments. Going forward, Kubernetes is the universal control plane that can manage containers, virtual machines, legacy workloads, and modern-day applications.
Most Kubernetes deployments thus far have been on top of open-source virtual machines or commercial hypervisor platforms like ESXi. These decisions have been mainly driven by the need to isolate Kubernetes environments sharing the same infrastructure with VMs. Many IT organizations lacked the tools or expertise required to manage Kubernetes natively, so it was easier to extend existing tools to manage Kubernetes as an extension of a virtual machine-based platform.
There is a high cost in both system performance and in licensing fees, however, when organizations use a hypervisor to manage Kubernetes clusters. Containers running on bare metal utilize system resources much more efficiently than VM-based containers and eliminate the need for using a hypervisor in the first place. ASG recommends using bare-metal Kubernetes solutions as they prevent “noisy neighbor” issues that can often plague hypervisor-based environments, and they are not only simpler to troubleshoot and support, but they have much lower operating costs and deliver higher container density than VM-based environments.
In the past, IT organizations managed and provisioned VMs and their storage resources, but tomorrow, ASG believes end-user application owners will drive application IT resource provisioning and management all through Kubernetes. It will orchestrate everything an application needs, enable cloud-native applications to run anywhere from on-premises to multiple cloud environments, and will give IT the freedom to run their applications in the best location for performance, compliance, or cost.