Canonical Adds Bevy of Tools to Curated Instances of Kubernetes

Canonical this week made available a pair of updates to its distributions of Kubernetes that make it easier to deploy and manage the platform at scale. The updates are based on the latest 1.26 version of the open source container orchestration platform.

Alex Jones, engineering director for Kubernetes at Canonical, says with the release of 1.26, the officially supported versions of Kubernetes now run from version 1.24 through 1.26. IT teams running earlier versions of Kubernetes are now racing against the clock to update versions of the platform that will not receive any future updates.

In addition, he noted that many of the earlier releases might be rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) that were deprecated in one of the latest releases of the platform.

Canonical supports two curated instances of Kubernetes, dubbed Charmed K8s and MicroK8s. The former takes advantage of the company’s Juju framework that adds a set of curated YAML files and scripts that simplify deploying software such as Kubernetes. The other platform is a lightweight edition of Kubernetes that can be used, for example, in embedded systems running at the network edge.

The latest edition of Charmed Kubernetes adds an ability to manage open policy agent (OPA) via a policy controller, a configuration option for Kube-OVN that makes it possible to peer Kubernetes pods and nodes with external BGP routers along with an ability to mirror pod network traffic to make it simpler to observe projects.

Finally, the metallb-controller and metallb-speaker charms have been upgraded to add support for AMD64, ARM, ARM64, POWER(ppc64le) and s390x platforms running Kubernetes.

At present, Canonical provides support for the three latest releases of Kubernetes. However, providers of curated instances of Kubernetes could soon agree to support a curated long-term release (LTR) of the platform, notes Jones. The Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) for Kubernetes is committed to encouraging organizations to stay current on Kubernetes releases, and has thus far declined to create an LTR version of the platform in the way many other open source projects have.

Nevertheless, most enterprise organizations are running earlier versions of Kubernetes that are no longer officially supported. It’s all but inevitable at this point that providers of curated editions of Kubernetes will collaborate to provide the equivalent of an LTR edition of the platform, says Jones.

In the meantime, Canonical is looking to further differentiate its curated edition of Kubernetes by adding support for the Cluster API in the core platform to its MicroK8s bootstrap and control plane for deploying multiple Kubernetes clusters. This is a critical capability because more enterprise IT organizations are starting to deploy fleets of Kubernetes clusters, said Jones. The latest Cluster API MicroK8s edition also provides role-based access control improvements as well as support for AMD64 and ARM64 platforms.

In addition, MicroK8s now supports extensions to the Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) service that can be found in an EKS-D add-on for Kubernetes. Other Canonical tools designed to make it easier to run Kubernetes at scale include Gopaddle for provisioning DevOps pipelines across multiple clouds and KWasm tooling for running WebAssembly applications on Kubernetes clusters.

In addition, Canonical supports both the MinIO object storage platform and the Ondat platform for running stateful workloads at scale on Kubernetes. There is also a Sosivio tool for securing Kubernetes clusters.

It may be a while before most organizations upgrade to version 1.26 of Kubernetes. As the platform continues to evolve, it’s increasingly apparent that curated versions of the platform significantly reduce the friction that most IT organizations encounter downloading raw bits of updates themselves.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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