Kubernetes, the open source container management platform has become the anchor for cloud-native technologies. Since the time it was handed over to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the project has received unprecedented interest from the industry. There is not a single public cloud environment that doesn’t offer a managed Kubernetes service.
Kubernetes is fast becoming the operating system for running modern, containerized applications.
The rise of Kubernetes has resulted in the creation of a brand-new ecosystem. There is a diverse set of ISVs and SaaS providers building tools for the cloud-native environment. The thriving ecosystem may be easily compared to what Microsoft or VMware enjoyed during the heydays of Windows and vSphere. The key difference is that the cloud-native products are mostly open source with a commercially hosted version available in the cloud.
Here are five open source projects that are getting the attention of the industry. These projects complement Kubernetes with additional capabilities to make it a solid platform to run web-scale as well as enterprise applications.
After Kubernetes, is the most popular cloud-native technology. It is a service mesh that securely connects multiple microservices of an application. Think of Istio as an internal and external load balancer with a policy-driven firewall with support for comprehensive metrics. The reason why developers and operators love Istio is the non-intrusive deployment pattern. Almost any Kubernetes service can be seamlessly integrated with Istio without explicit code or configuration changes.
Google recently announced a managed Istio service on GCP. Apart from Google, IBM, Pivotal, Red Hat, Tigera and Weaveworks are the active contributors and supporters of the project.
Istio presents an excellent opportunity for ISVs to deliver custom solutions and tools to enterprises. This project is bound to become one of the core building blocks of cloud-native platforms. I expect every managed Kubernetes service to have a hosted Istio service.
Prometheus is a cloud-native monitoring tool for workloads deployed on Kubernetes. It plugs a critical gap that exists in the cloud-native world through comprehensive metrics and rich dashboards. After Kubernetes, it’s the only project to graduate from CNCF. Prometheus complements Istio by aggregating the metrics that can be visualized through centralized dashboards. From core metrics that reflect the health of the Kubernetes cluster to advanced application-specific metrics, Prometheus can monitor everything. It is integrated with mainstream data visualization tools such as Grafana. Some of the upcoming capabilities of Kubernetes related to scaling and monitoring will depend on Prometheus making it an essential requirement for cloud-native platforms.
If Kubernetes is the new OS, is the application installer. Designed on the lines of Debian packages and Red Hat Linux RPMs, Helm brings the ease and power of deploying cloud-native workloads with a single command.
Kubernetes applications are composed of a variety of elements such as deployments, services, ingress controllers, persistent volumes and more. Helm acts as unified packaging tool by aggregating all the aspects and dependencies of a cloud-native application into a deployment unit called as a Chart.
Managed by CNCF, Helm has active participation from Bitnami, Google, Microsoft, Codefresh and Ticketmaster. Helm is on its way to becoming the de facto installer of cloud-native applications.
One of the promises of cloud-native technology is the rapid delivery of software. , an open source project initially built at Netflix delivers that promise. It is a release management tool that adds velocity to deploying cloud-native applications. Spinnaker seamlessly bridges the gap between VMs and containers by targeting traditional IaaS environments such as Amazon EC2 and modern CaaS platforms running on Kubernetes. Its multi-cloud capabilities make it an ideal platform to deploy applications across different cloud platforms.
Spinnaker is available as a self-hosted platform on all major public cloud environments. Startups such as Armory are offering commercial, enterprise-grade Spinnaker available under SLA.
Event-driven computing is becoming an integral part of modern application architecture. Functions as a Service (FaaS) is one of the delivery models of serverless computing which complements containers through event-based invocation. Modern applications will have services packaged as containers and functions running within the same environment. With Kubernetes becoming the preferred platform of cloud-native computing, it will have to run functions alongside containers.
, an open source project from Bitnami is one of the most popular serverless projects in the cloud-native ecosystem. Its compatibility with AWS Lambda combined with the support for mainstream languages makes it an ideal choice.
CNCF is yet to bring a serverless project into its fold. The closest it got so far was through CloudEvents – a standard specification for describing event data in a common way. It will be interesting to see if Kubeless becomes a CNCF project.
As enterprises start to embrace the new paradigm, new tools and platforms are evolving rapidly to support modern, cloud-native workloads.
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