Platform9 Preps Hosted Kubernetes Service

Most IT organizations have a tried and true response when exposed to new technologies. Eventually they want to master that technology, but they tend to look for outside help from managed IT services providers. Sometimes they do it because their developers are frustrated with the internal IT organization. Other times the internal IT operations team contracts for skills it knows it won’t have anytime soon.

At the Dockercon 2016 conference this week Platform9 announced it is providing IT organizations with access to a hosted version of the open-source Kubernetes container management framework.

Madhura Maskasky, co-founder and vice president of Product for Platform9, says Platform9 Managed Kubernetes, now in beta, is a logical extension of the private cloud instances of the OpenStack cloud management framework the company currently provides. Platform9 Managed Kubernetes doesn’t require an instance of OpenStack to run, Maskasky says, but organizations using OpenStack and Kubernetes will have a common pane of glass to manage both environments.

While it’s still early days when it comes to container orchestration framework, the Kubernetes framework—originally developed by Google—already has a reputation for being complex to manage and deploy. As a result, many IT organizations may want external service providers to manage Kubernetes on their behalf.

Kubernetes may have the largest container orchestration framework community surrounding it, but competition from Docker Swam and the open-source Mesos platform is heating up.

Platform9 Managed Kubernetes provides the core service discovery, load balancing and application lifecycle management enabled by Kubernetes. Platform9 has extended those capabilities to provide support for single sign-on (SSO), role-based access control (RBAC), multitenancy, persistent storage using a variety of storage platforms, isolated networking and image management.

Despite the rise of containers, virtual machines are not going away anytime soon, Maskasky says. In fact, depending on the use case, containers might be deployed on virtual machines, in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment or on bare metal servers. Over time, Maskasky notes, containers may become more hybrid across all three of those scenarios. Rather than mastering complex environments where containers will tend to come and go rapidly, Maskasky is making a case for investing in a managed Kubernetes environment today that can be extended in any direction an IT organization sees fit.

Obviously, Platform9 is not the only provider of cloud-hosted services with ambitions of providing a hosted Kubernetes service. But Maskasky says Platform9 is able to differentiate itself by its service-level agreements (SLAs) it is willing to stand behind compared to, for example, a public cloud service such as Amazon Web Services.

In either case, it’s clear that containers are consuming a larger portion of the IT infrastructure available in the cloud today. Less clear at this moment is what level of service the organizations deploying those containers will ultimately demand over time.

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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