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Container Management Product Now Available on Microsoft Azure

CoreOS's Kubernetes package was added last week.

Kubernetes, a container management framework, is moving to the fore of cloud technology. But it's also difficult to use, creating an opening for vendors that can simplify it.

CoreOS has been doing that for some time on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, and has now added Microsoft Azure support.

The product is called Tectonic 1.7.1, and along with AWS and now Azure, it also supports bare-metal deployments at an organization's datacenters. It's possible to use it for "hybrid" deployments, across both public clouds and the on-premises infrastructures of organizations.

Kubernetes is an open source cluster management solution that was originally fostered by Google. It's powerful and complex, but organizations need to be "very in tune with how it's changing over time," said Rob Szumski, product manager at CoreOS. The idea behind CoreOS' Tectonic product is that it lets organizations focus more on the applications they use, while benefiting from CoreOS' engineering expertise with Kubernetes.

"We're watching the changes in Kubernetes, influencing those changes in a way that we can then push automatic updates down to our customers and have them benefit from all our engineering experience such that they are focused on the applications that are running on top of the clusters," Szumski said in a phone interview. "And our engineers are doing the hard work to upgrade those in place, so you start consuming Kubernetes almost like a cloud service, but it's run on any provider."

CoreOS has been an early pioneer in the containerization movement with its Container Linux distro (formerly called "CoreOS Linux") for automated operations across a large set of machines, but it now focuses on enterprise-ready Kubernetes solutions. It's on the technical committee of the Open Container Initiative, which defines the standard for containers, as well as leading in the Kubernetes community, Szumski explained.

Tectonic is essentially an enterprise-ready technical stack for running containers that builds on CoreOS' Container Linux and "upstream Kubernetes," meaning that Tectonic pulls down new Kubernetes updates quickly. When released, the Kubernetes updates get added to the Tectonic product, Szumski explained.

The solution enables "automated operations," or "the ability to install in a fully automated fashion in very repeatable fashion on a number of different providers," Szumski said. It enables the sharing of access controls across clusters allowing organizations to "move workloads from an on-prem datacenter onto one of these cloud providers," such as AWS and now Azure.

It's a consistent experience, Szumski said. "Tectonic installs are extremely consistent between multiple environments, so you would have two different clusters, one running in the cloud and one running on prem. And then you would target your workload toward Kubernetes and Tectonic and then you should be able to seamlessly shift those workloads between those clusters. Because of the use of the containers, all of the dependencies are nicely packaged up. And then you can orchestrate, via the Tectonic APIs or the console, how many of each you want running in each region or provider."

Organizations typically are using Tectonic to support their developer teams with the containerization of applications for dev-test scenarios. The other typical-use case is to help organizations move from on-premises infrastructures to using public cloud environments.

Szumski claimed that Tectonic helps organizations get into production faster because the solution is "enterprise ready" and automated. Tectonic provides:

  • Full encryption between all of the components
  • The ability to connect to governance services, including LDAP and XAML-based authentication
  • Audit logging and security for running clusters
  • Built-in monitoring alerts

The monitoring alerts are enabled by leveraging Prometheus technology, which is an open source monitoring solution. CoreOS loves Prometheus because it enables "cloud native-style monitoring," Szumski said. It enables "smarter, more dynamic queries" when workloads scale up and down, he explained.

The Tectonic solution also includes Project Calico-based network policy support at the "early support" level. Szumski explained that Project Calico "allows you control traffic and ingress around the clusters." It's helpful when different engineering teams are "getting onboarded onto a common set of infrastructure" and swapping APIs. "You can control that network traffic such that only the allowed planes are going to get through and everything else is going to get blocked and audited," Szumski explained.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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