Not unlike the war of Betamax versus VHS, the war for container orchestration dominance was predicted in Q4 of 2017 and concluded by Q2 of 2018. Google Kubernetes Engine, now known simply as Kubernetes, emerged the victor. With a clear winner, providers and adopters redoubled their efforts and focused on producing and maturing their deployments for Kubernetes.
The release of a managed Kubernetes service and hybrid container stacks helped to ease the adoption of Kubernetes. Because GKE helped pioneer the concept of managed container services, Kubernetes always maintained greater demand than the container services of its competitors, AWS and Azure. The mid-2018 releases of Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS) and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cemented the dominance of GKE.
Kubernetes and container orchestration
Kubernetes (K8s) is a container orchestration system for automating application deployment, management and scaling. Originally designed by Google and open sourced in 2014, Kubernetes is maintained by the CNCF. The Kubernetes website describes Kubernetes as a “portable, extensible open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation”.
The three primary platforms that Kubernetes functions as includes:
- Portable cloud
A container-centric management environment, Kubernetes coordinates computing, networking and storage infrastructure for user workloads. Kubernetes includes the same ease of use as a PaaS along with the malleability of IaaS and the portability across infrastructure providers.
Kubernetes and open source software
Open source software is continuing to expand its influence and importance in the world of information technology. The IBM Services™ white paper support solutions for your open source software environment notes that “96 percent of commercial applications have some kind of open source component” (PDF, 3.9 MB).⁽¹⁾
In the world of open source software, Arturo Suarez has plenty of clout. Suarez created the first commercial distribution of the free and open source software platform for cloud computing, OpenStack. In a 2019 IT Biz Advisor interview, Suarez describe his experience with Kubernetes saying “Kubernetes [is] winning the container orchestration race” and that “Kubernetes evolves even faster than OpenStack, with releases every three months, and has a better governance model and adoption curve.”⁽²⁾
IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service
In mid-May 2018 and following IBM’s strategic investment in Kubernetes, IBM Cloud Container Service rebranded as IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, a service that had been available since May 2017.
A managed container service for quick application delivery, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service can integrate with IBM Watson®, blockchain and other advanced services. Several features for IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service includes:
- Intelligent scheduling
- Horizontal scaling
- Service discovery
- Load balancing
- Automated rollouts and rollbacks
- Secret and configuration management
With advanced capabilities around user-friendly cluster management and the ability to design your own cluster, this IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service also offers container security and isolation policies, and integrated operational tools for deployment consistency.