A more agile and efficient infrastructure is key to realizing the cost savings and productivity gains businesses needed to succeed in today’s highly competitive market. Recent surveys by Roger Magoulas & Steve Sawyer, May 19, 2020, show that 88% of enterprises are currently using cloud in some form or another. This adoption is not surprising as clouds have been around now for several decades since Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched in 2002. What may be surprising is that 86% of IT organizations are prioritizing containers for more applications, and much of that is occurring in the cloud or clouds as customers move to multicloud environments. The use of containers has been exploding since their introduction by Docker in 2013. IT and application users are looking at containers to support new use cases and performant workloads to win, serve and retain customers. The explosion in the use of containers in such a short time has created management challenges, especially since it requires different skill sets and architectures from the development of traditional monolithic applications.
Kubernetes for Container Orchestration and Management
Kubernetes has become the acknowledged de facto standard for container creation, orchestration and management. However, Kubernetes has different flavors, depending on who is providing it. Different Kubernetes vendors include proprietary enhancements to ensure vendor lock-in. Cloud vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google provide managed Kubernetes services. Cloud vendors have even begun to offer Kubernetes-based hybrid-cloud solutions to extend their reach into the enterprise. VMware has also committed to its own Kubernetes management to offer enterprises the ability to take advantage of cloud-like capabilities of cloud-native deployments in their on-premises environments. Having so many flavors of Kubernetes creates its own management problems.
Managing Kubernetes Clusters in Multicloud Environments
The perception is that Kubernetes is cheap and easy. The reality is somewhat different. It requires a wide range of highly complex tasks, especially when implementing Kubernetes in multiple clouds with multiple clusters. Kubernetes is a suite of different tools, many of which are developed by the open community. Orchestrating and managing these different tools requires addressing availability and protection, infrastructure performance, security, resource planning, monitoring, alerting and reporting, and skills development.
Hitachi Kubernetes Service
Hitachi Kubernetes Service is an open hybrid and multicloud management service for enterprise-grade Kubernetes implementations. It delivers a very reliable service for consistent deployment, management and monitoring of Kubernetes clusters on premises and across all major cloud providers, with enterprise grade security and governance. Hitachi partners closely with public cloud providers to ensure that Hitachi Kubernetes Service complements what they natively offer. By providing a multicloud management environment, Hitachi reduces complexity and enables choice in selecting the right solution for each environment, without inhibiting the innovation provided by the public cloud providers.
Hitachi Kubernetes Services incudes Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) certified distribution engine, Hitachi Kubernetes Engine, and a Kubernetes management service, Hitachi Kubernetes Service.
Hitachi Kubernetes Engine
Kubernetes, also known as K8s, is not a single application; it’s a suite of different applications and tools and it comes with no installation wizard or auto-configuration script. Hitachi Kubernetes Engine is a software distribution package that provides a pre-built version of Kubernetes with seamless one-click upgrade process across all Kubernetes clusters. It is CNCF certified, which ensures that every vendor’s version of Kubernetes supports the required APIs, as do open-source community versions. Conformance ensures consistency and timely updates. To remain certified, vendors need to provide the latest version of Kubernetes yearly or more frequently, so you can be sure that you’ll always have access to the latest features the community has been working hard to deliver. The Hitachi Kubernetes Engine’s automated management means low overhead for operations teams.
Hitachi Kubernetes Service
Hitachi Kubernetes Service is a hybrid, multicloud management Kubernetes service. It enables you to deploy, manage and monitor enterprise-grade Kubernetes clusters. It provides centralized control and operates with consistency across all major cloud providers and on premises. It has an intuitive and unified dashboard for operators, developers and power users.
- Hitachi Kubernetes Service enables developers to create on the application and platform of choice, and eliminates vendor lock-in. It deploys pure upstream Kubernetes, without any proprietary customizations and supports most recent stable versions of Kubernetes in the public domain.
- In a single-click, generate K8 clusters, upgrade them and manage across all K8 clusters, no matter where they reside, or what service created the clusters: Hitachi Kubernetes Service or another vendor.
- Hitachi Kubernetes Service provides centralized management of the entire Kubernetes environment, including multiple K8 clusters and the large number of resources across clusters. A single, unified dashboard for visibility and actions across the Kubernetes infrastructure in all locations provides easy, consistent and efficient management and governance.
- As capabilities are delivered as a service, app developers have immediate access to a modern app stack that is based on the latest advancements from the open-source community.
- With our extensible self-service catalog, enterprises have the option of using the existing Hitachi Kubernetes Service catalog or optimizing their experience by customizing it to match their business requirements.
- Developers, including DevOps teams, get benefits of public cloud agility. They get the latest advancements in continuous integration or continuous deployment (CI/CD) tooling with data management and governance — directly from their IT services team — all delivered from their own data centers.
- Manage all K8 implementations from bare metal, to virtualized environments to private, hybrid, or public cloud.
- The end-to-end solution with certified K8 distribution, self-service application catalog and advanced analytics, includes Kubernetes cost management, AI operations and backup.
- Strong cluster security enables authentication to K8 clusters through OpenID Connect and SAML. Support for Istio service mesh helps securely connect apps across environments.
- Hitachi Vantara helps customers bridge the DevOps skill shortage by providing a wide-ranging level of courses to bring them from introduction to DevOps and all the way to Kubernetes certification-level training. Therefore, the customer is not left with an infrastructure but without the skills to maintain and support it.
With the cloud-agnostic Hitachi Kubernetes Service, you can optimize the placements of your applications where you need them. Different public and private clouds have distinct strengths and weaknesses. This service lets you always put your apps where you want them, when you need them, alleviating lock-in concerns. Our agnostic, hybrid and multicloud solution enables you to modernize your existing applications and build new ones. It will deliver reliable services for the deployment, management and monitoring of enterprise-grade Kubernetes clusters across all major cloud providers.
Hu Yoshida is CTO Emeritus at Hitachi Vantara.