Dan's Take

Red Hat Touts 5 Benefits of Its Kubernetes Update

It's clear that Kubernetes is maturing.

Red Hat Director of Product Strategy Brian Gracely and I recently had an interesting conversation about the five things Red Hat wants you to know about the latest Kubernetes update.

The five things:

  1. Red Hat has included features that will make it easier to deploy and scale stateful applications. This means that enterprise applications requiring sophisticated automation tools to support complex runtime environments can rely on this tool.
  2. It has also included usability improvements to the command-line interface and throughout the release. This means that developers wishing to use this technology as part of a larger, custom project have the tools to be successful.
  3. Kubernetes, as implemented in Red Hat's OpenShift platform, includes high-availability capabilities. This means Red Hat has integrated Kubernetes' new features into its computing environment, so customers won't have to do it.
  4. Red Had offers choices when it comes to selecting a runtime in the Kubernetes environment. This means customers who have selected VMware, KVM or some other virtual machine (VM) or container software environment can continue to deploy their chosen tools.
  5. The company offers tests to ensure that node software meets Kubernetes cluster requirements. This shows that Red Hat has thought about real-world development and deployment environments, and provided the code to make sure their customers have a stable computing environment.

While not earth-shattering, it's clear that Red Hat is doing its best to bring this technology to its customers as commercial products -- not computer science projects. It has done quite a bit of work to integrate the newest Kubernetes release into its packages, including OpenShift.

Gracely took the time to discuss some statistics gathered from Red Hat's customer base that I thought were interesting. Here are a few tidbits:

  • Seventy percent of users use the default settings. This means that Red Hat's efforts to commercialize the open source technology have resulted in a product that should be easy to use. Thirty percent of users take advantage of the ability to use their own scheduler or invoke custom management or application code.
  • Originally, Red Hat's OpenShift included Red Hat's own scheduler. But as Kubernetes tools have improved, Red Hat's made that code the default.
  • Seventy five percent of customers implement their clusters using some other VM software layer. VM software such as that offered by VMware, Red Hat's own edition of KVM or some other tool are deployed.

We also discussed the goals customers have when selecting this technology. Gracely believes that improving availability and reliability are only a few of the reason customers are adopting this technology. Other reasons they've mentioned include increasing application performance and scalability. These goals are similar to those mentioned by enterprises using other clustering tools, so they weren't very surprising.

Thinking about conversations I had recently had with a few cloud service providers, I asked if increasing overall datacenter density is ever mentioned. Gracely commented that his discussions largely were with enterprises that were interested in facilitating the growth of their own workloads. He said that he could understand that service providers might see this technology in another light.

I added that one service provider has implemented this type of technology with the sole purpose of gaining a higher level of system utilization. That, of course, meant that their datacenter operations could serve more customers using the same physical hardware configurations and, it was hoped, for them to be more profitable.

Dan's Take: Kubernetes Grows Up
As I mentioned in this article and that one, clustering has been and continues to be an important way for enterprises to get more work done than a single system can manage. Their goals may be higher availability, greater resilience, a move towards the use of a service-oriented architecture or maybe even a move towards a rapid development and delivery model.

Kubernetes is increasingly seen as a mature tool to support multi-system configurations.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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