In-Depth

Important Announcements Made at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2017

Due to its size and importance, many companies -- both large and small -- choose to announce their new products and services at the event. Here are some that caught Tom Fenton's attention.

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2017 was held in Austin, Texas, at the beginning of December 2017. It's one of the largest (if not the largest) container-centric events of the year. Due to its size and importance, many companies, both large and small, choose to announce their new products and services at the conference. Although I won't be able to list all the announcements that were made this year, following are some of the major ones that caught my attention.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which held the event, announced that it has 30 new members, the list of which includes smaller container-centric companies, as well as IT heavyweights like HPE and CA Technologies. CNCF announced 1.0 releases for some of its projects: CoreDNS, containerd, Fluentd and Jaeger.

A month ago, CNCF announced its Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program, a certification in which it ensures Kubernetes products to deliver consistency and portability, regardless of the platform on which it's deployed. CNCF highlighted this program during the conference and stated that 42 Kubernetes products have since passed the certification. This is very important. Be sure to read my writeup on this announcement and its importance here.

Prometheus 2.0 was announced a month prior to the event on Nov. 8, 2017, and it still had a lot of traction at KubCon. Prometheus provides open source monitoring solutions for containers and is a CNCF member project. It's the most popular container-monitoring tool, and the 2.0 release has improved its performance and service discovery integration, extended PromQL, and now includes a remote API.

Canonical, in partnership with Rancher Labs, announced that early next year it will be releasing Kubernetes Cloud Native Platform, a complete software stack for the application delivery built on Ubuntu, Kubernetes and Rancher 2.0. This product will be able to be deployed on bare-metal if desired, and will have a single workflow management portal that will provide, among other things, a catalog of Docker containers and helm charts. It will be built on Canonical's distribution of Kubernetes and Rancher 2.0, and will run on Ubuntu.

Rancher 2.0, which will be available to the general public early next year, will allow you to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters. Specifically, Rancher 2.0 will allow you to manage user authentication, health checks and monitor a cluster. It will work with Canonical's Kubernetes distribution or, alternatively, a cloud-hosted Kubernetes service such as Amazon EKS, Azure ACS or Google GKE.

Alcide emerged from stealth mode at KubeCon by launching what it claims to be the industry's first universal network security platform for cloud, container, VM and bare-metal deployments.

Kasten, another company that came out of stealth, announced and launched two new products: its K10 Platform and its open source project Kanister. These products are designed to enable enterprises to build, deploy and manage stateful containerized applications to scale.

Oracle attended KubeCon and announced two new developer tools: the GA release of Fn, and the technical preview of Oracle Intelligent Federation. Fn is a serverless platform that can run on any Kubernetes deployment, including Oracle's new managed Kubernetes service, Oracle Container Engine. Oracle also announced that it's open-sourcing a technical preview of Intelligent Federation, a business intelligence layer that resides on top of Kubernetes that enables multi-cluster, multi-region, hybrid, and on-demand use cases, including disaster recovery and site recovery, as well as cloud bursting and offloading.

Heptio is an interesting company; it was founded by two of the original developers of Kubernetes, and it offers training, professional services and support for Kubernetes. At KubCon they highlighted the Sonobuoy scanner, which is used to run the Kubernetes conformance test. Sonobuoy reports whether the tests succeed; alternatively, if the tests fail, the logs can be examined and used to make necessary corrections and adjustments to bring it in compliance.

The Linux Foundation announced the formation of Unikraft, an incubation project under the Xen Project. Unikraft is focused on easing the creation and building of unikernels, which compile source code into a lean OS that only includes the bare minimum of traditional OS components in order to create lean, efficient and fast-booting applications. By doing this, Unikraft lowers the source code footprint, increases security and provides an extra degree of isolation. Unikernels are used in environments like microservices, embedded devices and IoT. Unikraft uses the 3-Clause BSD license. For more information about Unikraft go to xenproject.org.

On the stateful storage front, Dell and VMware announced that they have released new Container Storage Interface (CSI) drivers for ScaleIO (csi-scaleio) and vSphere (csi-vsphere). Both of these drivers will provide persistent storage for containers. CSI is a universal storage interface (effectively an API) between container orchestrators and storage, providing a much-needed level of abstraction between containers and persistent storage.

Although CEO Andy Jassy of Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the company's new service, Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS), at AWS re:Invent 2017 a week before KubCon, EKS was mentioned frequently at this event. Most important, this service solidifies the belief that Kubernetes is the de facto container orchestration product, regardless of the platform on which it runs.

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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